Fox 'saddened' by judge's decision

Paula Abdul will not return to “American Idol” after eight seasons with the show, she announced on her Twitter feed late Tuesday.

Details were still emerging on the breakdown in talks with Abdul, who had been involved with some rather public contract negotiations with Fox and “Idol” producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America.

Judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were already locked in for season nine, while Kara DioGuardi reupped for her second season on the “Idol” panel earlier this week.

Host Ryan Seacrest also recently signed a deal to stick with the show — leaving Abdul as the last “Idol” regular without a new deal. The rich new pacts for Cowell and Seacrest, among others, have made “Idol” a much more expensive show to produce.

According to a statement from Fox, FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, “Paula Abdul has been an important part of the ‘American Idol’ family over the last eight seasons, and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she’s a tremendous talent, and we wish her the best.”

Abdul was reportedly asking for as much as $20 million a year to stay with the show; the producers had offered a raise, but the two sides were unable to come to terms.

“With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to #IDOL,” Abdul wrote on her Twitter page. “I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all … being a part of a show that I helped from day 1 become an international phenomenon.”

Abdul — the most famous element of “Idol” when the show first bowed in 2002, having landed a string of pop hits in the early 1990s — was seen as a bit of an eccentric presence on the show. The judge was also once accused of carrying on a relationship with an ex-contestant of the show.

But Abdul’s unpredictability and sibling-like relationship with Cowell were seen as a major draw for “Idol.” It’s unclear whether the show will revert back to three judges, with DioGuardi now the sole female voice on the panel, or if another judge will be recruited.

Abdul’s departure comes as auditions for the next season of “Idol” get under way.

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