Ellen DeGeneres Joins American Idol as Fourth Judge
Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has joined American Idol as the new fourth judge sitting alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi. As the new judge, Ellen will offer her own unique perspective to the contestants throughout the competition.
The ninth season of American Idol premieres January 2010 on FOX. Ellen DeGeneres will join the judges’ pannel after the auditions, which will feature appearances by guest judges Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, and Shania Twain.
Upon becoming the fourth judge on the number one show, Ellen said, “I’m thrilled to be the new judge on American Idol. I’ve watched since the beginning, and I’ve always been a huge fan. So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I’ll save from not having to text my vote.”
American Idol’s creator and executive producer, Simon Fuller, is equally as thrilled. “I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the American Idol family. Ellen has been a fan of the show for many years, and her love of music and understanding of the American public will bring a unique human touch to our judging panel. I can’t wait for this next season to begin.”
Executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz added, “We’re all delighted to have Ellen join our ninth season of American Idol. Beyond her incredible sense of humor and love of music, she brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable. She is one of America’s foremost entertainers, and we cannot wait to have her join our team.”
Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for FOX stated, “We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres join the American Idol judges’ table this season. She is truly one of America’s funniest people and a fantastic performer who understands what it’s like to stand up in front of audiences and entertain them every day. We feel that her vast entertainment experience – combined with her quick wit and passion for music – will add a fresh new energy to the show.”
A beloved television icon and entertainment pioneer, Ellenâ€™s distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world. DeGeneres has made a home for herself in the daytime arena with her hit syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The show, now entering its seventh season, won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host four years in a row and has earned a total of 29 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Recently, Ellen was included in Forbes’ Top 5 “Most Influential Women in Media” and was voted “Best Daytime Talk-Show Host” by Parade.com readers. In addition, she has been voted “Favorite TV Personality” by The Harris Poll’s annual favorite television star list, beating out Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno. Ellen was included in MSNBC’s “Power players who shape your TV habits.” Ellen was also honored with Television Week’s Syndication Personality of the Year and voted No. 1 in Oxygen’s “50 Funniest Women Alive” special in the company of such comedic legends as Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin and has been included in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.
Ellen had the honor of hosting the highly rated 79th Annual Academy Awards and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety or Music Program. This follows her 2005 stint hosting the Primetime Emmy Awards, which marked her third time hosting the show. Her performance hosting the 2001 award show garnered her rave reviews for providing a perfect balance of wit with heartfelt emotion to the post-September 11 telecast audience. Ellen won an American Comedy Award for her inaugural effort hosting the show in 1994. Additionally, Ellen co-hosted American Idol’s very successful Idol Gives Back special that raised money for children in extreme poverty in America and Africa.
Ellen’s career began as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans, which led to national recognition in 1982 when her videotaped club performances won Showtime’s “Funniest Person In America” honor. DeGeneres began her acting career in television on the FOX sitcom “Open House.” She moved on to ABC’s “Laurie Hill,” prior to being offered a part on “These Friends of Mine” by ABC. After the first season, the show was renamed “Ellen.” Running from 1994 to 1998, the show garnered record ratings, with Ellen receiving Emmy nominations each season in the Best Actress category. In 1997, Ellen was the recipient of the coveted Peabody Award as well as earning an Emmy for writing the critically acclaimed “Puppy Episode” when her character came out as a gay woman to a record 46 million viewers.
Both on and off screen, Ellen’s humanitarian efforts take center stage. She is passionate about bringing awareness to the people of New Orleans, her hometown, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and her efforts have resulted in “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” raising over $10 million to improve the lives of New Orleans residents. Overall, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has raised over $50 million and brought attention to various causes, including global warming and animals. Additionally, Ellen continues to raise awareness about breast cancer, and served as spokesperson for General Mills’ breast cancer awareness initiative, Pink for the Cure, and hosted special episodes of her show to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Since she was first nationally recognized in 1982 as a comedian in New Orleans, Ellen’s many contributions to the entertainment industry have earned her numerous accolades including a Golden Apple Award as Female Discovery of the Year from the Hollywood Women’s Press Club; a Lucy Award honoring women in Television and Film, as well as an Amnesty International Award.