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Jennifer Lopez reportedly close to deal to return to 'American Idol'

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/25/2011 

Jennifer Lopez's American Idol return is reportedly nearly a done deal.

Lopez is close to reaching a deal with Fox to reprise her judging role on American Idol next season, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the talks.

Fox declined to comment on the negotiations when contacted by The Journal, and a Lopez representative also told the newspaper "there is nothing to announce."

However, American Idol executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz appeared to be slightly more forthcoming and stated the production of Idol's eleventh season is proceeding without issue, with Lopez presumably returning to the judging panel.

"We're in good shape. No worries. No dark clouds on the horizon," Frot-Coutaz told The Journal while declining to comment on the talks directly.

Earlier this month, E! News reported that Lopez -- who joined American Idol as part of last season's judging shakeup alongside fellow judge Steven Tyler -- had agreed to return for Idol's upcoming season, however a formal announcement has not been made yet.

According to prior reports, Lopez received $12 million to serve as a member of Idol's panel and was seeking an increase to return (unlike Tyler, who signed a multi-year-contract, Lopez's judging deal was only for one season).
Last month, the singer and actress said she was "on the fence" about returning to American Idol as a judge and the show's producers had reportedly begun discussing possible replacements for Lopez in case they could not reach an agreement.

While Lopez -- who recently announced she and former husband Marc Anthony have split, ending their seven-year marriage -- had suggested her busy schedule would prevent her from making a future commitment to Idol, InTouch Weekly subsequently reported Anthony's desire to have her spend more time with him was the real cause of her hesitation.

"Jennifer signed a one-year contract with an option to renew," a source told InTouch in its July 4 issue. "She's ready to commit to a few more seasons because she loves the job and the money, but Marc wants her to quit so she can spend more time with him."

(Photo credit Fox)

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