Ending weeks of speculation, Kara DioGuardi  and Fox announced late Friday (Sept. 3) that she would be departing as a judge on "American Idol" after two seasons.
A statement released by Fox was full of accolades for DioGuardi, perhaps to counteract the seemingly targeted Friday-evening-before-a-holiday-weekend news dump of the story.
"Kara is one of the world's best songwriters," says "Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. "She has been passionate and committed to 'Idol' over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come."
"Kara was a great addition to our 'Idol' family," said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. "I've been fortunate to get to know her well, and have always been amazed by her eye for talent and her commitment to developing and mentoring artists. She will be missed, and we wish her continued success."
DioGuardi's departure comes on the heels of a similar announcement  from Ellen DeGeneres , who served one season on the show. Longtime judge Simon Cowell also is leaving this season to focus on preparations for the U.S. version of the "X Factor," which will debut on Fox in 2011.
No reason was given for DioGuardi's departure, although her statement in the release reads: "I felt like I won the lottery when I joined 'American Idol' two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave 'Idol'," said DioGuardi. "I am very proud to have been associated with 'American Idol' - it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to Fix, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, as well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!" An attempt to reach DioGuardi was not immediately successful.
Fox has yet to make an official announcement as to who will comprise the judging panel on the next season of the show, although an announcement is expected in the next two weeks. The filming schedule of the show that requires the full judging panel starts in mid-September.
The tenth season of "American Idol" will return to Fox in January.
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