Latest AP bulletin:

– LOS ANGELES (AP) — A person close to “American Idol” says Ellen DeGeneres is joining the show as a judge, taking Paula Abdul’s place.

Abdul, who announced she was quitting the hit singing contest amid a contract dispute, had been replaced by a succession of guest judges as “American Idol” started next season’s auditions.

DeGeneres wasn’t among the visiting judges, but the person familiar with the decision to hire her said she turned out to be the choice for the producers and Fox.

The person, who lacked authority to announce the decision, spoke on condition of anonymity.