Fox Television announced Wednesday night that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will become the permanent fourth judge on "American Idol" replacing Paula Abdul.

DeGeneres was a surprise appointment, and it will be fascinating to see what her off-beat sense of humor does to the chemistry of the show when "Idol," the most popular show on TV, returns in January. Her brand of humor was apparent in a statement issued Wednesday night by Fox.

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"I'm thrilled to be the new judge on American Idol," DeGeneres said. "I've watched since the beginning, and I've always been a huge fan. So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I'll save from not having to text in my vote."

Creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said, "I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the 'American Idol' family. 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. I can't wait for this next season to begin."

"We're all delighted to have Ellen join our ninth season of American Idol," said executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "Beyond her incredible sense of humor and love of music, she brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable. She is one of America's foremost entertainers, and we cannot wait to have her join our team."

Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment for FOX added, "We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres join the "American Idol" judges' table this season. She is truly one of America's funniest people and a fantastic performer who understands what it's like to stand up in front of audiences and entertain them every day. We feel that her vast entertainment experience – combined with her quick wit and passion for music – will add a fresh new energy to the show."

I can't wait to hear what "Idol" fans think of the move. By the way, all the temporary judges announced earlier will still get their 15 seconds of "Idol" judging fame, the network said Wednesday night.

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