By Josef Adalian
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - "American Idol" co-host and sometimes Coca-Cola pitchman Brian Dunkleman won't be part of the hit Fox reality show's second season.
Dunkleman's reps had been talking to Fox and show producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia about a new deal, but Dunkleman's spokeswoman issued a statement Thursday declaring the standup comic-thesp was done talking.
"I have decided not to return for season two in order to pursue other opportunities in the world of TV and feature films," Dunkleman said, adding that he was "so grateful" for the opportunity "Idol" had given him.
Industry sources indicated Fox execs were lukewarm at best about Dunkleman's return, though not necessarily opposed to the idea. Dunkleman, meanwhile, may have been worried about being stuck in a role on "Idol" that often required him to perform some very cheesy stunts -- like pretending to eavesdrop on judges' conversations using Coke cups as listening devices. (Dunkleman isn't an official Coke spokesman.)
Indeed, Dunkleman and co-host Ryan Seacrest were the subject of a vicious parody during the August MTV Video Music Awards.
Seacrest recently inked a six-figure deal for a second season of "Idol," while snarky judge Simon Cowell will also be back.