LOS ANGELES – “American Idol’s” game of musical chairs may have taken another casualty as new reports claim Randy Jackson is vacating his post as judge — a spot he’s held since the singing competition premiered in 2002.

Jackson is reportedly stepping away from the judges’ table but would continue to play a role in the show as a mentor to the contestants. No word on what capacity that mentorship would be.

“Idol” currently relies on guest musicians to dole out advice alongside Jimmy Iovine, the in-house “Idol” mentor and chairman of Interscope/Geffen/A&M (contestants broker deals through Universal Music Group, with Interscope proving popular among them).

Speculation over who will occupy the judges’ table when the competition kicks off its 12th season in January went into overdrive the moment Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler announced their departures after two seasons.

Pop diva Mariah Carey became the highest paid judge in reality TV when she inked a deal, reportedly worth $18 million, to replace Lopez. Carey remains the only confirmed judge.

Gossip sites such as TMZ say rap-pop chameleon Nicki Minaj’s deal to join “Idol” is “99 percent done,” but the addition of Minaj would prove a logistical challenge for producers. Plenty have focused on her Pepsi deal and how it conflicts with “Idol’s” rather prominent relationship with Coke, but the often pink-haired performer still has a headlining world tour on her plate. She just wrapped the U.S. leg and her “Pink Friday Reloaded” tour is set to go from October to December in Europe and Australia (though there are some breaks).

Fox has been mum on further details on the “Idol” judge question, which makes sense given how much press has been given to a show that’s premiering after anticipated revamps from “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”

Also linked to the show recently: Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Kanye West.

Schoonmaker wins Gucci award for editing ‘Hugo’

VENICE, Italy – Thelma Schoonmaker, a three-time Academy Award winner, received on Friday the second Gucci award for women’s achievement in filmmaking for her work editing “Hugo.”

Schoonmaker, 72, has worked on every Scorsese feature film and won the Academy Award for “Raging Bull,” “The Aviator” and “The Departed.”

“I just don’t think I would have become a filmmaker if I hadn’t met him,” Schoonmaker said.

The two met in film class at New York University in 1962, while Schoonmaker was considering either a career as a diplomat or in primitive art.

“He was just a student and I helped him salvage his negatives. He had cut them wrong … and that’s the beginning of our relationship of trust,” she said.

Actress Salma Hayek-Pinault presented the award at a private dinner hosted by Gucci creative director Frida Giannini on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival. Gucci will donate $25,000 in Schoonmaker’s name to New York University’s film and television school.

Monroe’s estate loses its appeal

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Marilyn Monroe’s estate is powerless to stop a California company from selling her images without its permission.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that The Milton Greene Archives can continue to sell iconic images of the actress without paying her estate for publicity rights. The ruling hinged on Monroe’s legal residency. She owned a home in California and an apartment in New York when she died in Los Angeles in 1962.

Her estate at the time claimed Monroe was a New York resident to avoid paying California inheritance taxes. The court ruled that her estate can’t now claim Monroe was a California resident to take advantage of a state law granting posthumous rights of publicity to the famous.

With the estate’s backing, the state Legislature passed the law in 2007. New York has no such law.

The ruling allows the Milton Green Archives to sell images taken by its photographers without having to pay the estate royalties.

– From news service reports