After lengthy negotiations, Fox today officially announced what everyone already knew by now: that Jennifer Lopez will return as a judge on American Idol next season alongside Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. The upcoming 11th season of Idol, hosted once again by Ryan Seacrest, will premiere on Sunday, Jan. 22, following the NFC Championship Game. “Having both Jennifer and Steven return to Idol in 2012 alongside Randy is such a positive reflection on what was a wonderful and hugely successful season last year,” said series creator/executive producer Simon Fuller. Added Fox’s president of alternative programming Mike Darnell: “From the very first day of auditions, we knew we had something special in our new judges panel, and we’re so happy that America felt that way too. Together with Ryan — who is fantastic day in and day out — they built an incredible connection with both the contestants and our viewers, and I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome them all back to Idol for another season.” Idol, which received 10 Emmy nominations this year, starts the audition process for next season Aug. 26 in Houston.
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