VINCE GILL, PAUL FRANKLIN REVISIT BAKERSFIELD ERA: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vince Gill, country music's modern ambassador, and Paul Franklin, Nashville's most sought after steel guitar player, are bringing the twang back to country with a new collection of songs from the Bakersfield era.
The two collaborated on their new album "Bakersfield," out Tuesday, to update the California brand of country that Buck Owens and Merle Haggard popularized in the 1960s. The music took them back to when they first learned to play. The Bakersfield sound coming out of beer joints and clubs with its crying pedal steels and biting electric guitars challenged Nashville's country music, which relied more on hollow-bodied guitars and pop music conventions.
KEITH URBAN RETURNING AS 'AMERICAN IDOL' JUDGE : BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — Keith Urban is coming back to "American Idol."
Fox chairman Kevin Reilly on Thursday confirmed the return of the country music star, settling the fate of the only judge left from last season on the talent competition.
Reilly said Urban didn't have a chance to show his personality. The executive didn't say why, but the country singer was routinely overshadowed by bickering between fellow judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Their departures, along with that of Randy Jackson, were announced weeks ago, a response to the show's sagging ratings.
But Reilly was mum on who would sit beside Urban at the judges' table next season, which begins in January. Reilly said there have been discussions with Jennifer Lopez, a former judge, "but there is no deal with her or with anyone else."
"Idol" is looking for judges who make it comfortable for viewers, Reilly said. Whoever is on the panel, there will be a renewed emphasis on the contestants.
FOX ANIMATED SHOWS LOADED WITH CELEBS THIS FALL: BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — Kristen Wiig, Zach Galifianakis, Rachel Maddow and Daniel Radcliffe will be among the celebrities lending their voices to a new season of "The Simpsons" this fall on Fox.
Wiig will be heard in the animated show's season premiere on Sept. 29, voicing a high-strung FBI agent whom Lisa enlists for help when she suspects that something sinister has happened to Homer, Fox said Thursday at the Television Critics Association meeting.
Elizabeth Moss of "Mad Men" plays a grateful mom who names her baby after Homer when he helps deliver the child.
Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee, producer Judd Apatow and Will Arnett of "Arrested Development" are among other stars voicing parts on "The Simpsons."
Fox's other animated series boast a who's who of voices.
The fourth season of "Bob's Burgers" will include Molly Shannon, Will Forte and Rachel Dratch.
"Family Guy" will include guest appearances by Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine playing himself, Conan O'Brien, Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men," and Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad."
"American Dad" will feature the voices of Mariah Carey playing a redneck animal handler, Ellie Kemper of "The Office," Zooey Deschanel of "New Girl," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and Olivia Wilde of "House."
TEEN CHOICE AWARDS TO FEATURE CYRUS, BULLOCK: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Darren Criss of "Glee" and Lucy Hale of "Pretty Little Liars" will co-host Teen Choice 2013, which will include a performance by country group Florida Georgia Line.
Jenni "JWoww" Farley will host the teal carpet coverage of the Aug. 11 show that celebrates teen favorites in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy and the Internet on Fox.
Sandra Bullock, Kerry Washington, Miley Cyrus, Jim Parsons, Adam DeVine and Gabby Douglas were announced Thursday as the latest stars set to appear on the show airing live from Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. They'll be joined by Lily Collins, Max Greenfield, Liam Hemsworth, Demi Lovato, Ian Somerhalder, The Wanted and Rebel Wilson, among others.