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September 27, 2011
Randy Jackson, the only judge who has been on "American Idol" since the beginning, has left the singing competition series to focus on his own projects.
"After 12 years of judging on 'American Idol' I have decided it is time to leave after this season," Jackson said in a statement to the press. "I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It's been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures."
News of Jackson's departure came a day after a report surfaced saying all four "Idol" judges would be let go before the next season. The once-mighty singing competition series has been on the wane in recent years, with this season bringing the second straight year of double-digit declines in audience.
MORE: Randy Jackson out at 'American Idol'