August 13, 2009

The Story Behind Abdul's Idol Departure

Posted: 07:54 AM ET

By Edward Wyatt /

Paula Abdul’s departure from “American Idol” was the product of months of calculation: financial and logistical on the part of the show’s producers and its network, Fox, and entrepreneurial and retaliatory on the part of Ms. Abdul, who in recent months has grown increasingly certain that greater opportunities lie elsewhere.

art.abdul.giMs. Abdul’s announcement last week that she would not return to “American Idol” after eight seasons produced an array of reactions, most of which focused on her career prospects. Most assumed that she would be unlikely to find a job as lucrative and as prominent.

One week later, however, Ms. Abdul was already being courted by two other networks, ABC and NBC, as well as the producer of another Fox hit, “So You Think You Can Dance.” While her future is anything but certain, the notion that Ms. Abdul had nowhere else to go has quickly proved suspect.

But Ms. Abdul’s departure leaves bitter feelings on both sides. Her determination to wring greater compensation from Fox and the “Idol” producers was borne of a feeling that they had undermined and disrespected her for years, according to people close to her who were part of the negotiations. They said that she believed that the failure by her “Idol” colleagues to rebut sufficiently insinuations and jokes about her unreliability and possible substance abuse cost her lucrative endorsements.

One member of the “Idol” team, meanwhile, said that while Ms. Abdul had clearly contributed to the program’s success, the costs and benefits of her histrionics were quantifiable enough that “Idol” could afford to draw a line in the sand and not cross it.


Filed under: American Idol • Paula Abdul

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Michelle D. Fonthill,Ont   August 13th, 2009 10:23 am ET

I can't believe Paula left i thought at first it was just a ploy for more money but reall y it's like not fair that Simon or Kara makes more money .I wish Paula the best you go Paula !

Lori   August 13th, 2009 11:41 am ET

Paula – they treated you bad and you don't have to take it. Idol is in trouble without you. I am no longer gonna be watching it. Hope you end up on SYTYCD or Dancing with the Stars!

tony chu   August 13th, 2009 11:52 am ET

PEOPLE. Get a LIFE. You're agonizing over the departure of one has-been lip-synching ex-choreographer/dancer from a panel of four , for an amateur contest that doesn't even involve dancing in the first place.

If this is causing this much grief to this many people, our society is in deep trouble.

Rose   August 13th, 2009 12:36 pm ET

Let's face it Paula Abdul hasn't done much since the 1990's. Her recent reality TV show was a disaster. American Idol was a cash cow for her. She got paid a lot of money to say a some good words to contestants, disagree with Simon (for ratings), clap and cheer singers on. Her gig is over and AI's credibility is lost due the voting issues in the finale this year. She'll just move to another show, sit on a another chair, for even more money.

Kim St Thomas ON   August 13th, 2009 1:29 pm ET

Good for Paula for sticking to her guns and sticking it to American Idol; the show will never be the same without her. The four judges all did the same job, they should be paid the same salary per episode....equal pay for equal work. Hoping to be seeing you again soon Paula, on another network, hopefully in direct competition!

Susan   August 14th, 2009 1:37 pm ET

Like we care....I've never even watched the show....seems like a huge waste of intelligence to me.

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