Franklin, who was named the greatest female singer of all time by Rolling Stone, reportedly sent CNN an email to voice her interest in a slot on the panel. CNN said Franklin long has been a fan of the show and would love to have a say in who becomes the next Idol.
In a career that dates back to the early 1960s, Franklin has won 18 Grammy Awards and has been associated with some of the biggest names ever to play music. That's a far cry from longtime Idol judge Paula Abdul's short career in the late '80s and early '90s.
Franklin would also bring more credibility to American Idol, which has struggled to fend off ratings competition from inmitators like The Voice and The X Factor. Many fans tune in to those shows each week at least in part because they have Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. It's hard to imagine those two beating an American Idol combination of Franklin and a possible pairing with the warlock himself, Charlie Sheen.
Although it's still just a rumor, there are rumblings that Randy Jackson, who has been with American Idol since it began in 2002, could follow Lopez and Tyler out the door. Both Lopez and Tyler said they quit to focus anew on their music careers, but Jackson could be shifted from the role of judge to a mentor, according to Us Weekly. The magazine also reported that the name being given the most consideration as a possible judge is diva Mariah Carey, citing a source's report she is close to sealing a deal with Fox.
The ratings increase American Idol saw when it brought on Lopez and Tyler two seasons ago were partly due to the curiosity those choices generated. Rock fans were familiar with Tyler's whacked-out personality and with Lopez the shows executives knew they could take advantage of her eye candy factor. That magic is gone now, but combining Aretha's pipes with Sheen's maniac persona and the hot mess that is Mariah Carey could be too much of a ratings bonanza for Fox to turn away.