A New York Times report on why Paula Abdul left Idol confirms that it was indeed, about money, but she also felt dissed by the show’s producers. One of the reasons she asked for higher compensation was to make up for endorsement deals she lost due to her reputation as unreliable and a substance abuser–a reputation that Paula feels the show helped perpetuate.
A person close to Ms. Abdul said that part of her salary demands were to make up for the loss of income from at least one endorsement deal that went awry. That person said that Ms. Abdul had been negotiating for that endorsement contract, with a major fashion label, in 2006 and was close to a deal.
Also, people at Fox had mixed feelings about Paula and were willing to draw a line in the sand.
‘A lot of people at Fox had mixed feelings about Paula, ‘ said one person who was close to the negotiations. ‘Some of the people who were having to deal with her on a day-to-day basis didn’t want her back.’
Paula was not happy when Kara DioGuardi came on board as the 4th judge.
Ms. Abdul has stated publicly that the two women developed a good working relationship, but people close to her say she was surprised and dismayed at the hiring, believing that it was intended to send a message that she was replaceable.
Paula hired a new manager, David Sonenberg, in June, and his tactics rubbed Fox the wrong way:
People involved in the negotiations also said that Ms. Abdul’s contract talks were hurt when she changed managers at the end of June. Soon after the change Mr. Sonenberg, the new manager, told The Los Angeles Times that it appeared that Ms. Abdul would leave the show because she had not received a viable contract offer.
Fox executives said that they had communicated to Mr. Sonenberg the same offer that they had made to Ms. Abdul during the season. But they were vexed, they said, by the new manager’s aggressive remarks and his attempt to negotiate publicly. ‘It didn’t go over well at all here, ‘ one Fox executive said.
Fox offered Paula 5 Million a year back in the spring, and never wavered from their offer. They were clearly willing to let her go. There’s been some chatter about a last minute deal being made, but unless Fox suddenly has a change of heart about Paula’s expendability, that’s unlikely to happen.