With J-Lo and Steven Tyler leaving, is American Idol empire tottering?

"American Idol" has lost judges Steven Tyler (left) and Jennifer Lopez, and there is speculation that Randy Jackson — the sole remaining judge — may be leaving, too. MICHAEL BECKER / Fox
"American Idol" has lost judges Steven Tyler (left) and Jennifer Lopez, and there is speculation that Randy Jackson — the sole remaining judge — may be leaving, too. MICHAEL BECKER / Fox
Posted: July 18, 2012

‘American Idol' future uncertain

Across the Union, men and women, pensioners and babies, blue-collar and white-collar workers, dog owners and cat owners alike ask in anguish: Will American Idol survive in these blighted post-Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez days? Producer Nigel Lythgoe seems to share the collective angst, telling Idol host Ryan Seacrest's radio show that he's "really upset" by the departures.

Who'll be hired as a new judge? Candidates reportedly include Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, Fergie, will.i.am, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj.

Lythgoe says that from now on judges will serve for only a year. "If we do want these big stars ... you cannot take them away from what they do," he says. "That's depriving the public of a star for a start and stopping them from earning a lot of money."

Lythgoe may want to chat with Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul on Saturday said she's interested in becoming a judge.

Hubby: You want Mariah? Pay up!

Speaking of money, Mariah Carey's hub, Nick Cannon, has fired a warning across the American Idol bow. "I don't know if they can afford a Mariah Carey," Cannon tells TMZ. "That's a lot of money." Adds Nick in jest, "They gave J.Lo $20 million, they might have to double that!" It may happen yet: People mag says Carey is "in serious talks" with Idol suits.

Randy Jackson: Should I stay or ...

I'm sure this'll cheer Lythgoe: People mag says there is speculation that sole remaining Idol judge Randy Jackson also may bail. TMZ adds coal to that fire, reporting that Randy was seen breaking bread with former Idoler-turned X Factor boss Simon Cowell on Sunday night. Is he angling for a job on Si's new show?

We honor and praise you, Uma

Uma Thurman, 42, on Sunday gave birth to her third child, a baby girl whose name has yet to be released. It's Uma's first bairn with her gazillionaire hedge-fund-meister beau Arpad Busson. Uma, one of 876 women who make love to Robert Pattinson in Bel Ami, has a 14-year-old daughter, Maya, and a 10-year-old son, Levon, with her ex, Ethan Hawke.

Charlie Sheen 3.0: The philanthropist

Bad boy actor-assassin Charlie Sheen has been given an upgrade: The Two and a Half Men alum has pledged to donate 1 percent of his profits from his new show, Anger Management, to military aid org the USO, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $1 mil and no cap on a max payout. It's the largest single contributor donation, says the USO. Says Chas, "It's an honor for me to be able to give back to these men and women of the military who have done so much for all of us."

Today's industry business news

Savannah Guthrie, replacement for the sadly departed Ann Curry on NBC's Today, didn't have a great first week. Today was beaten in the ratings by ABC competitor Good Morning America. The Nielson Co. says GMA drew an average of 4.57 mil viewers compared with Today's 4.21 mil.

Guess Rihanna isn't popular or rich enough yet: TheBarbadian beauty is expanding her empire by launching a fashion line in fall 2013. "I've been wanting to design my own collection for some time," says Rihanna, who'll create the line for Brit fashion firm River Island. "I find London really inspiring, and River Island loves to have fun with clothes," The Big R adds.

Season three of HBO's Game of Thrones, set for 2013, will have more than a dozen new faces: Joining the cast will be Avengers superhero Diana Rigg, Mackenzie Crook, Clive Russell, Nathalie Emannuel, Tara Fitzgerald and so many more.

Tidbits 'n' pieces

Miley Cyrus' bro, Braison, 18, has been released from a Burbank, Calif., hospital after being treated over the weekend for complications from a recent tonsillectomy. "Not sure what happened exactly but long story short my artery opened," he tweets. "All good now." ... Suri Cruise, 6, "was spotted playing with dogs in a fenced-in cage Saturday at [a Manhattan] pet store," People has revealed. Suri and mum, Katie Holmes, left without a puppy. (Oh, the cruelty!) ... That paragon of civility and chivalry, Lindsay Lohan's pop, Michael, 52, is expecting a child with his ex-gf Kate Major (who is also Jon Gosselin's ex-gf), the New York Daily News says. MiLo was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Florida after a series of fights with Major, 29, who is three years older than his baby girl, LiLo.

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.

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