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'American Idol' judge Paula Abdul denies report of show departure

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/17/2008 

Paula Abdul has denied yet another rumor that she's leaving American Idol.

A source allegedly close to the Idol judge told OK! Weekly in a Friday report that Abdul was developing new television projects and was hoping to "transition" off the Fox mega-hit reality series.

"She knows that every season could be her last," an "Abdul insider" told OK!.  "Now she's got a new secret venture that she's really excited about."

While the publicity firm that represents Idol's producers was unable to confirm or deny the rumor and Fox offered no comment, it was eventually denied by Jeff Ballard, Abdul's personal publicist.

"It's absolutely untrue," Ballard told The Los Angeles Times late Friday evening.

Friday's OK! report didn't represent the first time it's been reported Abdul was leaving Idol.

In 2006, Us Weekly reported that Idol's producers had considered approaching Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears to replace Abdul after she'd reportedly been "very difficult" to work with during the show's fifth season.

Abdul subsequently signed a new three-year contract with Idol in March 2006, however the following year, another Us report that the show planned to replace her with Courtney Love surfaced in February. Both Love's publicist and a representative for former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe subsequently denied the report.

Idol's eighth season is currently scheduled to debut on January 13 and for the first time will feature a regular four-person judging panel, with newcomer Kara DioGuardi joining Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.

Abdul's most recent non-Idol television venture was Bravo's Summer 2007 Hey Paula! docu-reality series, which Abdul herself later admitted was often "hard" and "disturbing" to watch. 

(Photo credit Fox)

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