When television series enter their eighth or ninth seasons like "American Idol," networks and producers usually look for ways to re-energize them to avoid reduced ratings or even cancellation.
"Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf has been changing his casts for years for just that reason. This season, "Grey's Anatomy" is adding some new characters to re-energize the show so it can get as far as eight or nine seasons even if Meredith and Derek aren't as prominent as they've been or if actors Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey leave.
The announcement Thursday that talk show host, comedian and "Idol" worshiper Ellen DeGeneres will be in Paula Abdul's seat for the next season could turn out to be one of the best cast changes in TV history.
DeGeneres' addition in January after the audition episodes gives the show some much-needed buzz. She's nothing but likable. And unlike Abdul, DeGeneres' humor will be intentional.
The downside is DeGeneres' isn't exactly a musical expert. But, hey, she's from New Orleans and she's always professed a love of "Idol" so she must know a thing or two about music.
Besides, how hard will be to join Kara and Randy in telling the singers "you rock, man" or some variation of that. By now, we all know the only musical expert worth listening to is Simon anyway.
What's your take on the hiring of DeGeneres? Will you miss Paula, who is certainly history now?
-- Alan Pergament