Compiled by TV Week
Because we aggregate news, TVWeek is your SINGLE most complete source on Tuesday night’s bombshell that Paula Abdul is leaving "American Idol."
Paula broke the news in a series of Tweets she Twittered Tuesday night, Aug. 4, 2009:
"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..Cont’d…"
"I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent,but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day1become 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"
Deadline Hollywood on Abdul’s tweet:
"The veteran of 8 Idol seasons, who’s been kvetching for weeks now she hasn’t received a new contract for the 9th, added, ‘What I want to say most is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me.’ Oh, barf."
The folks on the other side of the negotiating table from Abdul—19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia and Fox Broadcasting released this 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."
The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reported Ryan Seacrest’s Twitter response to Abdul’s Tweet:
"About to go to sleep when I started seeing my Blackberry blow up. I have read what you have read and I am shocked and saddened about Paula."
E! Online reported that Seacrest then added this Twitter message:
"Idol and the cast have grown with each other over the last 8 seasons..I can’t imagine the panel without paula. She’s a star @ a great friend," followed by, "Spoke to randy..hope to speak with paula privately overnight."
Crux of the matter: salary dispute
On 7/26 the LA Times’ Company Town reported:
"Ryan Seacrest’s widely reported new deal pays him $10 million per year to host and $5 million per year to ‘merchandise his image.’ "
Report also said Simon Cowell gets $36 million a year and after his contract expires next year he wants $45 million per year to stay on the show..
Report added that Abdul’s been getting about $4 million per year and initially was asking $20 million per year in a new deal. She then lowered that request to $12 million per year, the report said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday night that sources said Abdul was paid $2 million last year.
Numerous publications reported last night that Abdul turned town a 30% salary increase, which would have brought her up to either $2.6 million or $5.2 million annually, depending upon which number is correct about what she had currently been making.
Either would have been a lot more than her reported $5,000 weekly salary when “American Idol” first debuted.
An online poll taken by E! Online listed 5 annual salaries, and asked readers which one Abdul should be paid. Here are the results as of around midnight Tuesday: 24.9% said she should make $40 million a year; 23.7% said $20 million a year; 20.6% said $5 million; 19.9% said $10 million; and 10.9% said Abdul should be paid $30 million annually.
No publication was able to contact Cowell last night, but back on July 21, when Abdul was claiming she wasn’t receiving any love from Fox or the producers of “Idol,” Cowell was widely quoted as saying about Abdul:
"She’ll be fine. She’ll be on the show. I don’t get a lot of say. I’ve just made it clear that I want Paula on the show.”
Nigel Lythgoe, the former showrunner of “Idol” who now is the executive producer and a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,’” was widely quoted not too long ago saying that if “Idol” and Abdul parted ways that she could have a guest judge stint on “Dance.”
Tuesday night, after Abdul’s Twitter announcement that she was leaving “Idol,” E! Online got a hold of Lythgoe: His initial reaction was "I didn’t know twitters were official statements, but if they are I’m going to be very careful what I twitter from now on."
Then he added, "Of course I’m sad about it. I think it’s a loss for both of them. It isn’t just a question of a loss for Fox. I think Paula was an important part of American Idol."
Previously Lythgoe had been quoted saying that the only person whose absence might deliver a fatal blow to “Idol” was if Cowell left.
Last night the final thing he told E! was: "I’ve always said the show is more important than any individual and it’s dependent upon the talent that comes on it, the young singing talent. The chemistry of Randy, Paula and Simon is going to be historic. When you talk about television programs, whatever happens now, they will be the three judges that everybody else has got to come up to that standard."
E! never mentioned in its report if the offer to have Abdul guest host on “Dance” was still on the table. Interestingly, “Dance” and “Idol” have at least one producer in common: 19 Entertainment.
Joe Adalian over at The Wrap wrote Tuesday night that Fox’s Tony Vinciquerra most likely took the lead in the Abdul negotiations. Joe wrote: “An extra $10 million for Abdul might not seem like much, except when you realized that might have translated into an extra $10 million for Randy Jackson and another $20 million for Simon Cowell once word got out how much Abdul was making."
Also, Adalian speculated that Abdul just might be the most savvy of negotiators, and wouldn’t ABC love to get her as a judge for “Dancing With the Stars,” or NBC for “America’s Got Talent.”
Or, he wrote, she could crash and burn a la McLean Stevenson, an actor who years ago quit the sitcom “M*A*S*H” at the height of its popularity only to disappear into obscurity via the sitcom bomb “Hello Larry.”
As the New York Times noted in its piece Tuesday night, many “television industry executives said that they felt Ms. Abdul’s [recent] combative stance was simply a negotiating position and that both the ‘Idol’ producers and Ms. Abdul had too much to lose from her departure.”
The danger for Fox, of course is that “You never know what makes a show popular,” one longtime reality show producer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ties to Fox,” told the NY Times. “She could be responsible for a significant portion of the ["Idol"] audience.”
We’ll give the last words in this roundup to our friend Phil Rosenthal, a former TV critic and currently the media columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Upon hearing the news about Abdul Tuesday night he sent this Tweet:
"Paula Abdul quits as Idol judge, wanted promotion to Supreme Court"