Fox wants new deals with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson
By John Bracchitta, 03/19/2009
Fox has no plans on messing with what's working, and intends to keep judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson all in their American Idoljudging seats after their current contracts expire over the course of the next two years -- at least according to the network's reality chief Mike Darnell.
During an appearance Thursday morning on Idol host Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM radio show, Darnell said that Fox had no plans to dump any of the judges, despite the fact that Abdul's contract expires at the end of the year, with Cowell's contract following the year after.
"As far as I'm concerned, and as far as Fox is concerned, none of those things change," Darnell told Seacrest. "We want Simon to stay as long as he wants to stay and we're currently trying to make a new deal with Paula too."
Seacrest then noted that his own deal -- and that of Jackson as well -- will also be expiring in 2010 along with Cowell's, eliciting a more joking response from Darnell.
"Oh well that, I can't really talk about that. I don't wanna go too deep into your deal," Darnell joked to Seacrest.
The exchange failed to make any mention of new Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, presumably because her contract already gives Fox the option of retaining her for the 2010 season and beyond.
In addition, Darnell also spoke glowingly of "The Judges' Save" rule on the show and said that its inclusion had created "an enormously raw moment on the show, better than we had imagined it would create," as evidenced by last night's elimination of Alexis Grace.
"The drama and the tension it's adding after they've been told they're out, has been incredible," Darnell told Seacrest. "Last night, I have to say Alexis was truly singing for her life, and it really felt that way."
Darnell also clarified that timeframe in which "The Judges' Save" could be used by the judges, saying it could be utilized "until" the Top 5 and not through it -- meaning that the last time the judges could save a contestant would be during the Top 6 elimination show.
"That's because the math then stops to work as far as two coming back and the whole way we're doing it," Darnell added.