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Paula Abdul manager: "No discussions" about 'American Idol' return


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/20/2009 

Paula Abdul apparently has a number of opportunities to continue working in television, however the door to her rumored return to American Idol has remained closed.

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Abdul's manager David Sonenberg says that although he would "never count anything out," there have been "no discussions whatsoever" about her return to Idol and his client's focus is on other possible opportunities.

"She loves Idol. She feels she was a large part of the reason it is what it is," Sonenberg told The Los Angeles Times Wednesday.

"I can tell you her focus right now is speaking to all the other networks. The only one we haven't talked to, because of recent events, is Fox.  But perhaps we would be speaking to Fox about shows in the near future."

Earlier this month Abdul used her Twitter page to announce that she would not be returning as a judge for Idol's ninth season, and speculation about her possible return began almost immediately.

However Abdul herself seemed to personally squelch those speculations in a Wednesday Twitter post.

"Dont believe everything that you read!!" she posted, presumably referring to the rampant rumors and reports about her possible return.

While a guest starring role on ABC's Ugly Betty and competing as a celebrity participant on Dancing with the Stars upcoming fall season never materialized, Sonenberg told The Times that fans will "soon" know what Abdul's immediate future holds.

Sonenberg added Abdul has received numerous offers since announcing her Idol departure, partly because she's "the kind of person who is pulling for you."

"You can always tell when someone is really interested in you and not just going through the motions," he told The Times. "That's clear with Paula. She's the kind of person who could be your best friend and mentor because she truly cares... When you look at the 'Idol' situation, it was clear she cared about those kids, it was clear she wanted them to feel safe."

Sonenberg also told The Times that Abdul is not considering former Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe's recent offer to appear as a guest judge on this fall's So You Think You Can Dance.

"She feels fabulous. She feels free," Sonenberg said. "I think in some ways she was typecast in Idol and she was kind of restricted from doing anything she wanted to do and now she's free to decide. She really is very excited about the future and that there's support for her."

According to Sonenberg, Abdul has already received interest from all of the other major networks, some independent cable channels, major corporations and financiers, live entertainment businesses, publishing companies, clothing lines and cosmetic brands.

"She loves television. She has a number of exciting ideas, some of which are competitive, some of which are just theme-oriented," Sonenberg told The Times. "I think you're going to be seeing a lot of Paula, sometimes as an executive producer, sometimes as a performer or mentor and sometimes as a creative developer."

While Idol does not begin its live tapings until February, a series of guest judges -- including Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige Shania Twain, and Katy Perry -- are replacing Abdul at the ninth-season callback auditions, which are currently being held.

In addition, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice has previously told reporters Idol will likely add a new permanent fourth judge before the ninth season premieres in January and he has "no expectations" that Abdul would attempt to reopen negotiations.

"In terms of the negotiations themselves, the negotiations have concluded," Rice told reporters at the Television Critics Association earlier this month.  "Between now and January we will come up with a permanent solution on what we will do ... obviously there is going to be a different dynamic [and] there is something exciting about that."

"What we need to find is someone who has great chemistry. It really is a casting job. Our job in next four or five months is to consider what makes this the most fun, the most entertaining show."



(Photo credit Fox)


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