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FOX Boss - Paula Abdul Not Coming Back To American Idol

Aug. 6 2009, Published 5:27 a.m. ET

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Her 8-years on American Idol is not ending on a high note.

FOX Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice says negotiations are over with Paula Abdul and she’s not coming back to American Idol.

Rice told the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California on Thursday that FOX made an offer it considered very fair to Abdul, but she decided not to return as a judge on the mega-hit talent competition.

Rice said he intends to find a replacement for Abdul before “live” Idol shows begin next year.

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Auditions for the ninth season of American Idol are set to begin Friday in Denver, and Rice said, in the meantime, guest judges will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi during the seven weeks of tryouts.

Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and singer Katy Perry are two of the confirmed stars who will step in as guest Idol judges.

Rice said the network is saddened by Abdul’s decision, but looks forward to finding a replacement for her who could bring a new dynamic to the show.

"Our intention is to have guest judges be female pop stars, female performers," said Rice. "Between now and January we will come up with a more permanent solution. We feel between now and then we will come up with a replacement for Paula. There's obviously going to be a different dynamic next year."

Asked if there's any chance of Abdul returning, Rice replied, "Our understanding is we've concluded the negotiation."

Simon Cowell
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"We're going to have these guest judges, we've done that before when not all the judges were available," Rice said. "There's no contingency that any of these judges will be a long term judge for us. We have from now until January to introduce a different energy into the panel."

Added entertainment president Kevin Reilly, "Paula was the right person with the right chemistry. When shows are this successful it's very easy to take for granted the level of producing that goes into the show ... I'm not saying it's easy -- you're messing with chemistry that works -- but we're pretty confident that producers will find that."

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As previously reported, Abdul rejected an eight-figure deal that awarded her a 30 percent raise from her previous salary, an anonymous insider told the Associated Press.

Abdul – who reportedly makes a fraction of what others on the show earn -- was upset with huge raises given to other Idol staffers, including to host Ryan Seacrest, whose  new deal would pay him a staggering $45 million dollars over 3-years.



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