Ellen DeGeneres joins 'Idol'

Also inks five-year deal to continue talk show

Ellen DeGeneres is becoming a daytime-primetime double threat with two major deals.

She has joined "American Idol" as the fourth judge, filling the void left by the departure of Paula Abdul. Additionally, she's inked a new five-year deal with Warner Bros. to continue her successful daytime talk show.

On "Idol's" upcoming ninth season, DeGeneres will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.

DeGeneres broke the "Idol" news during the Wednesday taping of her show to a standing ovation from the audience. "I'm not leaving here; don't worry about that," she told them. "I'm gonna have a day job and a night job."

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which returned for a seventh season this week, has been cleared through the 2010-11 season. DeGeneres' new pact will secure her services for three potential years beyond that.

In her remarks, DeGeneres also noted that the "Idol" talks had been held in deep secrecy for a couple of weeks, with the deal closing moments before she went onstage for the taping of the episode, which airs today.

DeGeneres said she's never missed an episode of the singing competition and hopes to bring "the people's point of view" to the judging panel, which she will join after the auditions.

"Ellen has been a fan of the show for many years, and her love of music and understanding of the American public will bring a unique human touch to our judging panel," "Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said.

DeGeneres is no stranger to the "Idol" stage; she co-hosted the 2007 "Idol Gives Back" special with Ryan Seacrest.

"We feel that Ellen DeGeneres' vast entertainment experience -- combined with her quick wit and passion for music -- will add a fresh new energy to the show," Fox president of alternative Mike Darnell said.

Following Abdul's abrupt exit from "Idol" in August over a salary dispute, the show recruited guest judges for the audition stage: Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain.

DeGeneres is repped by ICM, manager Eric Gold and attorney Kevin Yorn.
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