The secret to talking is in knowing when to shut up, so I think I’ll shut up today on the subject of Fox executives kamikhazically allowing Paula Abdul to leave American Idol, and let Josef Adalian from The Wrap try to explain the details.
Here are the bare bones and the maybes:
- Everyone’s favorite incoherent, spaced-out talking doll has Tweeted that the party’s over, she won’t be back on Idol next year. “With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to IDOL. I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all…being a part of a show that I helped from day1 become an international phenomenon.”
- Maybe she’s had a better offer from talent shows on other networks: ABC’s So You Think You Can Dance, for instance. Or NBC’s America’s Got Talent (owned and produced by Simon Cowell).
- Maybe it was a plot from the start. Bring in a fourth judge last season – another female, one who could speak in whole sentences without stopping every couple of words – just to remind Abdul that she’s not indispensable and to quit messing around. Then use that as a negotiation tool to gradually phase Abdul out when the time came.
- Maybe it was Abdul’s new manager and Fox’s new TV chief flexing their muscles, mano a mano. In which case, what a disaster for both.
- Maybe it’s one final act of brinksmanship, just another stage of the circus that is American TV contract negotiations, but one that will resolve itself at the very last split-second, and Abdul and Fox will make their peace, enabling her to return to the show.
Nobody knows as of today. But here’s the article:
“Where do we go from here?
Now that the No. 3 star on America’s No. 1 show has decided to up and quit, the aftershocks will continue for days, weeks — maybe months. This story isn’t exactly the death of Michael Jackson, but let’s put it this way: The Obama administration has one more giant media circus to compete with as it tries to sell its health care plan.
First, an update on what went down.
Fox still isn’t talking beyond its statement, but people familiar with the situation insist that the network very much wanted Abdul to stay. These sources say the network and producers were willing to up Abdul’s salary by a huge 30 percent.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Abdul had been making between $2 million and $4 million per year. If you believe the high end of those estimates — because, really, $2 million sounds way low — then Abdul stood to pull down around $5.5 million per year. And since these deals always run for multiple seasons, Abdul just walked away from around $11 million to $17.5 million.
Yes, Ryan Seacrest is reportedly making almost that much each year of his new three-year pact. But his deal includes monies from multiple other projects he works on for 19 Entertainment. And he has a much more vital role to the show (even if he doesn’t have as passionate a fan base).
That’s what we know right now. What’s next?
— The backlash. Fox can expect to get slammed by the mainstream media, which won’t understand how the network could let the Beloved Paula slip away. Wags will predict the show won’t be the same, that viewers will rebel and that the network is risking its most important franchise.
While multiple executives have been involved in the talks, Fox chief Tony Vinciquerra almost certainly took a lead role in guiding the negotiations, according to people close to the situation. It’s one of the first big deals to happen (or not happen) since Peter Chernin stepped down from News Corp.
Vinciquerra is the ultimate no-B.S. executive. Given the antics of Team Abdul recently (Twittered demands, press attacks from her manager), it’s not surprising things broke down.
But Vinciquerra also had to look at Fox’s overall bottom line. An extra $10 million for Abdul might not seem like much, except when…”
Read the full article HERE.
Read TMZ follow-up HERE.
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