BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Keith Urban is coming back to “American Idol.”
Fox chairman Kevin Reilly on Thursday confirmed the return of the country music star, settling the fate of the only judge left from last season on the talent competition.
“He did a really good job last year,” Reilly told a gathering of the Television Critics Association. “The fans really like him.”
Reilly said Urban didn’t have a chance to show his personality. The executive didn’t say why, but the country singer was routinely overshadowed by bickering between fellow judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Their departures, along with that of Randy Jackson, were announced weeks ago, a response to the show’s sagging ratings.
But Reilly wouldn’t say who would sit beside Urban at the judges’ table next season, which begins in January. Reilly said there have been discussions with Jennifer Lopez, a former judge, “but there is no deal with her or with anyone else.”
“Idol” is looking for judges who make it comfortable for viewers, Reilly said. Whoever is on the panel, there will be a renewed emphasis on the contestants.
“The show always has been about the contestants,” he said.
Valerie Harper films TV movie in Canada
LOS ANGELES – The UP cable channel says Valerie Harper is filming a TV movie in Canada.
The movie titled “The Town That Came A-Courtin”‘ is based on a novel by Ronda Rich and also stars Lauren Holly, Cameron Bancroft and Lucie Guest.
UP, which described the movie as an uplifting romance, said Wednesday it welcomed the “inspirational” Harper as part of the project.
In March, the 73-year-old actress said she’s been diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain cancer but that she intended to live each moment fully.
Harper gained fame playing Rhoda Morgenstern on television’s “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda.”
UP’s “The Town That Came A-Courtin”‘ will air in January 2014, the channel said. It’s being shot in Vancouver.
– From news service reports