Why Paula Really Left Idol

She felt mistreated, underpaid; network had 'mixed feelings'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2009 10:58 AM CDT
In this April 6, 2008 file photo, from left, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, and Randy Jackson are seen backstage at the "Idol Gives Back" fundraising special.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
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(Newser) – Paula Abdul left American Idol only after “months of calculation,” both her own and Fox’s, writes Edward Wyatt in the New York Times. Abdul felt she was being mistreated on the show. Colleagues, she believed, weren’t doing enough to fight rumors about her “unreliability and possible substance abuse”; meanwhile, she felt she was being treated differently as a woman, making $3.5 million to Simon Cowell's $30 million and Ryan Seacrest's $10 million.

Abdul thought the rumors had “cost her lucrative endorsements,” including one she was close to signing with a major fashion label, Wyatt writes. And while many believed the former host was dropping her best career opportunity, she’s already in talks with ABC, NBC—not to mention Fox. As for that network, “A lot of people at Fox had mixed feelings about Paula,” said an insider. “Some of the people who were having to deal with her on a day-to-day basis didn’t want her back”—though execs said they were unhappy she left.