The Dawg is leaving the pound. Randy Jackson has announced he is leaving American Idol at the conclusion of this, his 12th season.
“To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season,” Jackson said in a release Thursday. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life-changing opportunity, but I am looking forward to focusing on my company, Dream Merchant 21, and other business ventures.”
Jackson was the lone remaining judge on Idol, which debuted in 2002 and featured the longtime session musician ranking young singing talent alongside Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Abdul left the program in 2009 while Cowell jumped ship a year later to launch The X Factor.
The 56-year-old Jackson exits amid rumours Fox is scrapping the entire judging panel of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Jackson and Keith Urban, and saying goodbye to executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. The drastic moves are said to be a solution to the show’s eroding ratings, which have dropped from a once-mighty 30 million to just over 10 million, and the growing success of NBC rival The Voice.
American Idol‘s two-part season finale airs next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV/Fox and Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV Two/Fox.