Fox denies ‘Idol’ scheme to dump Mariah Carey for Jennifer Lopez

LOS ANGELES — Fox is denying a report that “American Idol” considered coaxing “Jenny From the Block” to make a U-turn on the “American Idol” judging street.

A story from The Hollywood Reporter said a dip in ratings had producers scrambling to find a solution to bail out the long-running singing competition series: swapping Mariah Carey for former “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez came to mind. A scheme that apparently was halted when Mariah Carey threatened legal action.

A Fox spokesperson denied the conspiracy, while hinting that Lopez could return for the show’s upcoming finale.

“This is just another ridiculous ‘Idol’ judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale,” the spokesperson said.

Fremantle North America, which produces the show, did not immediately return requests for comment.

“American Idol” had a seemingly solid start with the launch of its 12th season, which featured yet another new set of faces: Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Carey joined longtime judge Randy Jackson. The show’s premiere brought in nearly 18 million viewers and a not-too-shabby 6.0 rating in the advertiser-favorite 18-49 demo. While still hefty, the long-running show has seen its double-digit dip in ratings for a second year in a row.

And the 12th season would get wobbly from there, while genre competitor “The Voice” gained traction and Thursday time slot competitor “The Big Bang Theory” closing in with total viewers.

Of the new judges, Minaj has stood out with her flamboyant personality, while Carey has failed to excite viewers. Though the network is denying any current changes to the lineup, let’s not be surprised if changes come once the season is over.