Thursday, August 6, 2009

FOX Exec: “Paula will not be returning”

This week television critics are in LA for the event known as press tour. It’s when the networks bring out their stars to promote their shows.

But for FOX, most of the questions today were about one thing—Paula, Paula, Paula…

And FOX Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice had an answer: “Paula is not returning to ‘Idol’…We are very sad she is not coming back. She was an important part of the Idol family…[It was] not our choice, not what we wanted to happen.”

When someone asked if there was still a possibility she could return, Rice said, “We have concluded our negotiations and Paula has announced that she is not [returning].”

I think that leaves the door open a crack, but who knows?

In the meantime, FOX will use guest judges to fill the fourth seat during the auditions. Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry have already signed on (Ryan Seacrest tweeted today that Beckham will join the judges in Denver tomorrow.). Rice promised a more permanent solution will be found between now and January.

Rice also added that at this point it’s not definite that Paula will be replaced, but it is “probable.” He said they’ll be looking for someone who has “great chemistry” with Kara, Simon and Randy.

Rice also gave the critics a peek into the negotiations by saying FOX offered her a “substantial” raise. He also cleared up some details on Ryan’s contract saying the $15 million a year is for more projects than just “Idol.” In other words, he’s not getting that money just to host “Idol.” I wonder if Paula’s new manager explained that to her before she walked away?

Rice concluded his Paula comments by telling the critics, “We have to look at it as an opportunity to bring a new energy to the show.”

But wouldn’t it be a better energy if they went back to three hosts? I thought we already figured out that four doesn’t work…
Thanks to Michael Ausiello and for their TCA reports...
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX