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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 10

Report: Fox weighing Chris Isaak for 'American Idol', Bret Michaels out

By Reality TV World staff, 07/21/2010 

Fox is reportedly considering musician and actor Chris Isaak to replace Simon Cowell on American Idol and eliminated Bret Michaels as a possibility.

Isaak has met twice with the network to discuss taking over Cowell's judging role for American Idol's tenth season, The Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday.

While Fox is reportedly "determined to land a widely known music industry figure" to replace Cowell and considers the task its "top priority," the network has insisted a decision isn't imminent given American Idol's tenth-season callback auditions -- the first which actually happen in front of the show's judging panel -- will not take place until September.

However, according to the Reporter, the network has already eliminated Michaels from its potential Cowell replacement list, which also reportedly includes Harry Connick Jr.

Michaels had revealed that he'd been approached about replacing Cowell -- who left American Idol in May after inking a January deal to launch an American edition of his British The X Factor reality competition series on Fox in Fall 2011 -- during a concert in Biloxi, MS in late May.

Since then, Michaels -- who served as a third-season judge for USA Network's Idol-like Nashville Star country singer competition in 2005 -- has openly campaigned for the position repeatedly discussed the possibility in subsequent interviews with The Early Show, The Joy Behar Show, The View and Parade magazine, among others.

"They did a poll and I think it was Madonna, P. Diddy, Howard Stern, and myself, and I took 50% or 60% of the vote and that's tremendous," the recent The Celebrity Apprentice winner told Parade magazine last month.  "I would love to be a judge on American Idol. I think I would bring a lot to the table."

Although he has no music credentials, Michaels' former The Apprentice boss Donald Trump has also "quietly lobbied" for the position, according to the Reporter.

Connick's name first surfaced as a possible replacement for Cowell after he served as a mentor for American Idol's ninth-season finalists during the show's Frank Sinatra-themed Top 5 performance round in early May.  

However unlike previous mentors, Connick was also responsible for composing the arrangements of the songs the finalists sang and accompanied them on-stage with his big-band orchestra as they performed.  In addition, he also joined American Idol's regular judging panel in providing commentary on some of the performances.

The appearance was well-received, prompting many -- including American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi -- to suggest that the show should consider him as Cowell's replacement.

"I really liked Harry Connick. I don't think that you need to replace Simon with somebody who is like Simon because no one will ever be Simon. It's impossible,"  DioGuardi said in June.

Even though he's no longer with the show, Cowell is reportedly still having an impact on who American Idol replaces him with.

According to the Reporter, one of the candidates the show is considering is also being considered for a judging role on The X Factor -- which has launched "a tug-of-war" between Cowell and Idol creator Simon Fuller, who have allegedly had a tense relationship since Fuller sued Cowell over The X Factor's similarities to the Idol concept after Cowell launched the show in the U.K. in 2004.

(Cowell left Pop Idol -- the Fuller-created British series American Idol was based on -- to launch The X Factor and the series ended up effectively replacing Pop Idol, which didn't continue after Cowell's departure.)

The men later reached an out-of-court settlement in which Fuller reportedly received a minority interest in The X Factor in return for Cowell signing the 2005 Fox deal which kept him with American Idol through the show's ninth season. 

The contract -- which also kept Cowell from appearing on-screen for America's Got Talent or any of his other U.S. projects during the five-year period -- also included an agreement that prevented him from selling the rights to an American adaptation of The X Factor during the period.

While Cowell has publicly said he believes American Idol "will continue to be the No. 1 show" without him and there's room for The X Factor to co-exist with it, some believe he "would be pleased" if Idol suffers a ratings collapse without him, according to the Reporter.

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