Paula Abdul may be in Idol talks after ABC talks fail; Seacrest won’t get $15mm for just Idol

Paula Abdul talked to ABC about joining the network, both on Dancing with the Stars and guest starring on Ugly Betty, but will do neither now that talks have broken down with the network. And perhaps not surprisingly, she’s reportedly talking to Fox again about rejoining American Idol.

ABC’s new Dancing with the Stars cast did not include Paula, and The L.A. Times reported that that talks between Abdul and the network have fallen apart and she will not be guest-starring on “Ugly Betty.”

Now, rumors that Paula may reverse course on her decision to leave the most-popular show in the country are getting higher. A TMZ camera operator had an awkward conversation with Paula (if this is what journalism has become, our world is in trouble) that the site is now spinning as evidence that she has “something lined up,” but she says no such thing during the video. Instead, she says she’s “too classy” to talk about it, and says the guest judges who have replaced her are “all wonderful and talented” and “I have respect for all of them,” and gets annoyed that men aren’t held to the same jealously standard.

Meanwhile, “a source familiar with the talks with Abdul” told MSNBC’s Courtney Hazlett that “[t]he people at the very top of ABC were really vocal about getting her on board for ‘Dancing.’ By not exactly keeping it secret, it made Paula’s value more apparent to Fox.” Talking about “Paula’s value” makes it sound a lot like the source is someone in Paula’s camp, and the person also said, “Paula isn’t lowering her price in any meaningful way. She wants a Seacrest-level deal.”

Speaking of that deal, Ryan Seacrest is not actually getting $15 million a year just for his work on American Idol, although reports about his new contract in The Hollywood Reporter and elsewhere suggested that was the case.

Fox entertainment chair Peter Rice recently told told critics, “Ryan is still in his old contract on Idol, and Ryan made a deal with [19 Entertainment’s parent company] CKX, which encompasses much more than Idol. Ryan is not being paid $15 million a year to be on Idol.” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly added, “He has really built a breadth of a career and wears many different hats and he has that ambition to continue doing it, and that’s what the 19 deal contemplates. Our deal remains in place.”

Paula Abdul negotiating a return to ‘Idol’ [MSNBC]
No ‘Betty’ for Paula? Talks with ABC collapse [Los Angeles Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.