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Paula Abdul Leaving 'American Idol'

Aug 5th, 2009

By James Hibberd

Paula Abdul has left "American Idol."

The "Idol" judge made the announcement on her Twitter feed: "With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to 'Idol' ...I'll miss nurturing all the new talent,but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from Day 1 become an international phenomenon ... What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me ... It truly has been breathtaking, especially over the past month ... I do without any doubt have the BEST fans in the entire world and I love you all."

Fox, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment confirmed Abdul's departure in a statement:

"Paula Abdul has been an important part of the 'American Idol' family over the last eight seasons, and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she's a tremendous talent and we wish her the best."

Sources say Abdul asked for about $20 million to continue with the show. She rejected a 30% raise, an eight-figure, multiyear deal.

The news comes on heels of newest judge Kara DioGuardi being re-signed to the show. Fellow judge Simon Cowell is locked for next season. Cowell, who in the spring indicated he might leave at the end of his current deal, is already talking to "Idol" producers for a new contract, reportedly seeking more than $100 million a year. 

Meanwhile, host Ryan Seacrest has already agreed to return as part of a broader three-year $45 million deal with 19 Entertainment.

Sources say Fox was willing to have all four judges return and that DioGuardi's deal wasn't made as a pre-emptive replacement for Abdul. On the other hand, the network and producers were sufficiently irked when Abdul's manager took negotiations to the media last month and told the Los Angeles Times that producers are being "rude and disrespectful" to Abdul by not having "stepped up."

Though Cowell's criticisms are generally considered the most entertaining on "Idol," it's Abdul who has been -- for better or worse -- the least predictable element on the reality hit, a headline-generating X-factor all her own.

Abdul was rumored to leave the show once before, after being accused of fraternizing with a contestant in 2005. Abdul also clashed with producers last season after saying they failed to protect her from a stalker who auditioned for the show and eventually killed herself.

In June, Abdul was offered a guest judge stint on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" by producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe, who was one of the original executive producers of "Idol." With "Dance" airing its first-ever fall edition this year, such an offer could prove tempting. 

– Nielsen Business Media 

Courtesy of Backstage.com

Filed under: American Idol

 

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