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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 9

Paula Abdul still "negotiating" to return to 'American Idol' judging role

By Christopher Rocchio, 06/07/2009 

Paula Abdul has labeled talk of her leaving American Idol as a negotiating ploy to produce a better contract.

"I never said that [I was thinking about not returning for Idol's ninth season].  I just said that I'm not sure," said Abdul during a Friday appearance on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.

"I love my job.  I do.  I love what I do.  I feel that I've had a really wonderful journey with the show.  It's called, um, 'negotiating.'"

Abdul has been an Idol judge since the show premiered in 2002 and is currently in the last year of a three-year contract she signed with Fox in March 2006.

Rumors that the network is considering replacing her have swirled for years but grew stronger when the network announced Kara DioGuardi would join Idol as a new fourth judge last summer. OK! Weekly subsequently reported that Abdul was developing new television projects and was hoping to "transition" off the Fox mega-hit reality series in November.

While her personal publicist Jeff Ballard later called the report "absolutely untrue", Abdul still sparked new speculation when she did a December interview in which she lashed out at Idol's producers and suggested that the fact that she was still "under contract" was the primary reason she was returning for the show's recently-concluded eighth season.

Abdul later denied saying "anything disparaging" during the December interview with Barbara Walters.

Most recently, Fox reality chief Mike Darnell stated that he doesn't foresee any changes to Idol's four-person judging panel for next spring's ninth season and Simon Cowell "absolutely" guaranteed that all four will be back.

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