Exec: Idol Will Still Have a Fourth Judge

Entertainment Aug. 6, 2009 AT 2:09PM
Idol Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson attend auditions for "American Idol" season 8 at Chelsea Piers on August 26, 2008 in New York City. Credit: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Despite Paula Abdul's exit earlier this week, American Idol will still have four judges, Fox chairman Peter Rice told the FOX Television Critics Association on Thursday."There is going to be a search," he said.

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Rice said producers "were hoping" Abdul would come back. "We love Paula. She's been a really wonderful part of the show for eight years." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Abdul asked for a $20 million deal.

She rejected a 30 percent raise - an eight-figure, multi-year deal.

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"There is going to be a change and that change we have to look at that as being a positive change," Rice said of Abdul's exit. "It wasn't a decision we made, but we have to look at it in a positive way."

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In the meantime, guest judges -- including Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry -- will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi in the seven weeks of taped audition rounds, which begin Friday in Denver.

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"We'll have these guest judges do one week each during the audition [period]... there is no thought right now that any of these judges will be long term judge for us," Rice said. "All of the people we are talking to have successful careers. I don't even think they'd be available to judge full-time. We have now until January to introduce a new energy to the panel."

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