While the blogosphere is atwitter today over a New York Post report that American Idol has tapped radio jock Howard Stern as the leading candidate to replace Simon Cowell on the show’s judging panel in 2011, a source close to the show tells EW that “the search has just begun, nor are there any front-runners at this time.” Furthermore, “nobody’s going to be offered a job [as a permanent Idol judge] for a while,” the source added. “We’re doing a very thorough search.” A call to Stern’s PR rep was not immediately returned.

Cowell announced last month he will not return to Idol for its 10th season next year, and will instead bring his X-Factor singing competition to Fox’s fall 2011 schedule.

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Image Credit: Stern: Evan Agostini/Getty Images; Cowell: Michael Becker/Fox