‘Voice’ Judge Shakeup: Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys to Join, Pharrell Williams to Exit Next Season (Exclusive)

Blake Shelton and Adam Levine reupped as NBC balances big ratings and big costs, TheWrap has learned

The Voice Season 11 Cast
The Voice Season 11 Cast

Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys will join “The Voice” as judges next season while singer-producer Pharrell Williams will leave in an NBC shake-up of the coaches on its hit show, TheWrap has learned.

Country star Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have re-upped their deals as coaches, according to multiple individuals with knowledge of the show. Williams will be in the mix as NBC figures out its coaching panel beyond next season.

Cyrus has signed for a “megabucks” deal according to one individual close to the deal. She served as an advisor during the current season.

The other judges, Shelton and Adam Levine, make about $13 million per season, according to insiders with knowledge of the judges’ deals.

The country star will be the longest-tenured judge on the top-rated show and is considered key to bringing in a country music-loving audience.

NBC had no official comment.

"The Voice" Season 10 hosts/ NBC
“The Voice” Season 10/ NBC

One insider told TheWrap that a game of cat and mouse has been underway with the reigning judges, with the talent fretting that the network is looking to replace them with lower-cost alternatives.

Cyrus has been serving as a key advisor on the show’s Season 10. Keys,  a 15-time Grammy winner, served as an advisor on Season 7.

Levine and Shelton have spent all 10 seasons together in those oversized “Voice” chairs, with Aguilera doing six between the boys. CeeLo Green, an original judge, was there for four seasons, as has Pharrell.

Usher, Shakira and Gwen Stefani have done a pair of seasons apiece.

Update: An individual close to the show told TheWrap that Gwen Stefani will “likely” return to the coaching-judges panel in the spring. She will be joined by a yet-to-be-determined combination of coaches, that could include Williams, the individual said.

“Everyone in ‘The Voice’ family has the potential to be back in the chair in the spring,” said the individual.

Adam Levine on "The Voice"/ NBC
Adam Levine on “The Voice”/ NBC

“The Voice” is a ratings powerhouse for NBC, continuing strong this season.

In Season 10, the main Monday show is averaging a 3.8 rating/12 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, per Nielsen’s “most current” ratings, which include seven-day delayed viewing numbers where available. Ignoring NFL football, that makes “The Voice” the fourth-biggest broadcast show of the season, behind only “Empire,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and Fox’s short “X-Files” return. Or, if you want to look at it this way, it’s the No. 1 alternative series on broadcast TV.

That 3.8 is huge, but still down 10 percent season over season — that’s probably why NBC is willing to back the Brinks truck up for Cyrus, to goose the young-ish demographic. The Monday show also hauls in an average of 14.2 million total viewers per episode — that’s down just 1 percent from last year.

Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani on "The Voice"

Oh, and when “The Voice” is on Tuesdays, it’s nothing to sneeze at either. That second show averages a big 3.4 rating, behind a handful of more dramas plus “Modern Family.” That night is down 15 percent in the main demo. Again: Welcome, Miley. On Tuesdays, “The Voice” is down 6 percent among total viewers. In other words, “The Voice” regularly owns both nights, and has been a big reason that NBC’s stayed on top in recent years.

“The Voice” is also one of the reasons NBC may actually catch up to CBS, which had the massive Super Bowl 50, during this traditional fall season. (If NBC doesn’t match or pass the Les Moonves-led network by May, it will by the 52-week mark, thanks to the Rio Summer Olympics.)

As a bonus, the lion’s share of “Voice” ratings come from live viewing, which is huge in a TV era where “eventizing” is both a real word and a real priority.

“The Voice” currently airs Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.