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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 9

'American Idol' music director Rickey Minor leaving for 'Tonight Show'

By Christopher Rocchio, 04/14/2010 

Simon Cowell apparently isn't the only one leaving American Idol after its currently airing ninth season.

American Idol music director Ricky Minor will leave the Fox reality competition to replace Kevin Eubanks as the music director for NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno beginning June 7, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Minor will continue to collaborate with American Idol creator Simon Fuller on various projects, according to The AP.

"We couldn't be more excited," said Tonight Show executive producer Debbie Vickers. "[The show] has a long tradition of acclaimed musicians in this role, and it's great to now include Rickey alongside Kevin and Branford (Marsalis)."

Eubanks -- who has worked on Tonight since Leno became host in 1992 and took over for Marsalis in 1995 -- had announced his plans to leave the NBC show in six weeks on Tuesday.

"After 18 years, I just need a change of pace and see what else is going on," said Eubanks. 

"But it's a really difficult decision because this has become my second home, as it has been for the band, and I love the audience and the American people really love the show and it’s been a wonderful experience to be here."

American Idol's ninth-season finale will air on May 26.

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