In the wake of Simon Cowell’s recent megabucks deal to remain with “American Idol,” there’s word Paula Abdul is seeking a lot more coin — and Fox may be balking.
A sure sign talks aren’t going well: Insiders close to the production say execs from the net and production companies FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment have met with crooner Natalie Cole and Go-Go’s front woman Belinda Carlisle in recent days. Singers have been told the network is looking to add a fourth judge — or possibly a replacement judge — to the smash skein when it returns for its third season in January.
No deals are in place with Cole or Carlisle, but the mere fact that the meetings are taking place indicates Fox and the producers seem ready to move on should Abdul not back down from her salary demands. Both Cowell and Randy Jackson are locked for next season.
Fox declined comment, and Abdul’s reps couldn’t be reached late Thursday.