When Dancing With The Stars announced 16 celebrities that will trot out for the show’s upcoming season Monday, Fox let out a sigh of relief that one name wasn’t on the list: Paula Abdul‘s.
“The people at the very top of ABC were really vocal about getting her on board for Dancing,” an insider told MSNBC. “They actually really needed her as that big name; they didn’t really want Tom DeLay as their most-buzzed-about contestant.”
Though ABC aggressively pursued the ex-Laker girl for their ballroom competition in vain, the buzz and demand surrounding Abdul joining the show was not lost on Fox executives, who have tested Victoria Beckham and Mary J. Blige as possible replacements for the Cold Hearted singer.
“By not exactly keeping it secret, it made Paula’s value more apparent to Fox,” the source said.
Abdul, according to the source, is still intent on getting a deal in the three-year, $45 million range as host Ryan Seacrest got earlier this year.