updated 17 Jul 2012, 10:19
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'Idol' to J.Lo: You're fired! Mariah on standby

Jennifer Lopez says it was her choice to leave American Idol - but she was actually dumped by Fox when she asked for a US$2 million (S$2.5 million) raise in salary to US$17 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told TheWrap.

Fox also opted not to pick up Steven Tyler's option, the person said. Steven announced his departure Thursday, saying he had decided to devote his energies to his first love, Aerosmith. J.Lo said she wanted to focus on other aspects of her career and her kids, including her 25-year-old dancer boyfriend Casper Smart.

The exits-and the possible departure of Randy Jackson, widely speculated to be considering an exit after judging on all 11 seasons of the former No. 1 show-comes as it undergoes another dramatic overhaul, just two seasons after the show was retooled by introducing Steven and Jennifer.

The insider said top Fox executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly want to revamp the show, and that Rice has told colleagues he wants an "Idol 2.0", of which host Ryan Seacrest would be the only essential ingredient.

The insider said J.Lo's fee went from US$12 million in her first season to US$15 million in her second. When she asked for another US$2 million, the network surprised her by not making a counteroffer.

Idol lost its top spot in the ratings last season after eight years of dominance. In their two seasons, Steven and Jennifer helped prop up the show. But they couldn't return it to its former dominance as the sing-off market became glutted with competition, including The Voice with Adam Levine and The X Factor from Simon Cowell.

Many music stars are being considered to replace Steven and Jennifer, including Mariah Carey-whom Simon has long sought for X Factor-Kanye West, Mary J Blige and Lenny Kravitz. If Randy stays with Idol, he has an inside track with Mimi as he likes to remind everyone: Randy is Mimi's manager.

Meanwhile, season two Idol contestant Corey Clark has filed a libel lawsuit against MTV Networks for more than US$40 million, claiming he was unfairly ridiculed by one of its news reporters.

The lawsuit claims that after Corey was disqualified from Idol, having reached its top 10 finalists, MTV News correspondent Jim Cantiello falsely attacked him as a liar and called for a boycott of his music.

Corey was disqualified in 2003, after Idol officials learned he had faced three misdemeanour charges, including one battery charge involving his sister. He was later acquitted of two of the three charges and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, the lawsuit said.

Corey's lawsuit said Cantiello, who wrote for MTV as an expert on Idol, defamed him in a series of online posts from early 2007 through July 2011. In them, he described Corey as a "degenerate", accused him of lying about the charges, falsely called him an "alleged sister-beater" after the charges were dropped, and instructed readers to boycott his debut album.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that Cantiello repeatedly ridiculed Corey about a relationship with Paula Abdul, saying he had invented the romance. The lawsuit claims Corey and Paula were, in fact, involved.

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