Music producer Jimmy Iovine to be part of “American Idol” next season

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Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler may not be the only new faces on “American Idol” when the Fox hit returns next year. Legendary record producer Jimmy Iovine is also expected to have a significant role with the show as well, people close to the situation said.

Iovine, who has worked with artists including Bruce Springsteen, U2, Dr. Dre and Eminem over his lengthy career, will have a part on “American Idol” next season. It is unlikely that Iovine will be a judge on the show, but he will be a mentor of sorts.


The addition of Iovine comes on the heels of a new record deal between “American Idol” and Universal Music Group. Iovine is chairman of UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M label. Previously, Sony Music had been the label partner of “American Idol.”

For “American Idol,” adding Iovine to the mix may help lessen the blow of losing lead judge Simon Cowell, whose music background gave him credibility. Whether Iovine will emerge as someone with the same on-air presence as Cowell remains to be seen, but no one can argue with his success in knowing what sells.

As for the other changes in the works behind the scenes of television’s No. 1 show, Nigel Lythgoe has closed his deal to return to “American Idol” as an executive producer. Lythgoe had been an executive producer on the show until he left in 2008, reportedly amid clashes with Cowell. Producers are still trying close deals with Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Tyler, according to sources and a person close to Tyler. It is expected that those agreements will be reached within the next several days.

Fox is still keeping mum on all the changes around “American Idol.” Even News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, the uber boss of Fox, couldn’t be coaxed into giving a hint about the show during a call with analysts to discuss the media conglomerate’s second quarter earnings.

“All I can assure you is that next year’s `Idol’ will be different, it will be better, the music will certainly be better, and we’ve got great expectations for it,” Murdoch said.

-- Joe Flint

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