Randy Jackson Reacts to L.A. Reid's 'X Factor' Exit: 'What? No!'

L.A. Reid Randy Jackson Split - H 2012
Nino Munoz/FOX; Michael Becker/FOX.

L.A. Reid Randy Jackson Split - H 2012

Word of L.A. Reid’s exit from X Factor came as a shock to many viewers of the Fox show. Among them: Randy Jackson

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news to the American Idol judge on Thursday afternoon, who responded with his trademark, “What?! No!” Jackson said that Reid, the chairman of Epic Records, is a “dear friend.” And as a music-maker himself, he sympathizes with his fellow judge in understanding the difficult position of being a TV star and running a major music company. “He's got two amazingly tough jobs,” said Jackson adding, “I can't even imagine.”

PHOTOS: 55th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees: The Black Keys, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, Kanye West

Reid made it official on Thursday evening, announcing that he would not return for a third season of X Factor (Fox has already green-lit the 2013 run) and was “looking forward to getting back to my core business and the responsibility of running Epic Records." The Sony Music label is home to Ciara, Avril Lavigne, The Script and Fiona Apple, who recently scored a Grammy nomination, among other artists.

Jackson seemed genuinely surprised, and maybe even a little disappointed, to hear that his pal -- who orchestrated Mariah Carey’s massive comeback in 2005 (she being Jackson’s management client and Idol panel-mate) -- would no longer be seen on his TV Wednesday and Thursday nights. “He was great -- he’s gotta come back,” said Jackson. “I gotta call him.”

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin