Paula Abdul wants loot just like Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell are getting. Her manager is taking the gripe to the media over negotiations:
Paula Abdul is unhappy. And unless the producers of “American Idol” change her frown to a smile soon, she’ll dance like there’s no tomorrow away from TV’s No. 1 show. “Very sadly, it does not appear…… that she’s going to be back on ‘Idol,’ ” David Sonenberg, Abdul’s manager, told The Times when contacted about the judge’s contract negotiations.
With auditions for the ninth season due to start Aug. 6, Sonenberg says he doesn’t even have a proposal for a new contract from FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, the production companies behind the show. The new season is scheduled to premiere in January.
“I find it under these circumstances particularly unusual; I think unnecessarily hurtful,” he said of the contract holdup. “I find it kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful that they haven’t stepped up and said what they want to do.”
[Updated at 11:59 p.m.: Sonenberg began managing Abdul at the end of June, he said. According to him, he has “reached out to the head of business affairs at 19” and told Fox that “Paula would love to be on the show.” He said Fox told him he would hear from them, but “I have not received any proposal whatsoever.”]
Representatives for Fremantle, 19 and Fox all separately declined to comment.When TV stars (or their reps) air contract-renewal gripes in the media, it’s often a sign that negotiations are entering a more active phase. Abdul — whose tearful, tongue-tied feedback to contestants have made her a kind of batty sister figure to star “Idol” judge Simon Cowell — may have special reasons to want to push the ball forward now, given that “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest just signed a deal worth a reported $45 million that will keep him on the job for at least the next three years. That pact effectively doubled Seacrest’s salary.
Meanwhile, Cowell has a contract that expires next year and is jockeying for his own rich new payday. Published reports have floated a mind-blowing figure of $144 million, which Cowell has scoffed at, saying that talks are ongoing. (Fellow judge Randy Jackson is booked through 2011.)
Paula may have a bigger following than you think. There are millions of stay at home moms who pop pills and have cocktails in the middle of the day just like Abdul. They probably relate and will have a say in this.