Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell insists he isn't simply angling for bigger bucks when he says that he intends to leave American Idol at the end of his current contract, which runs through next season.
"When I signed the latest extension ... it felt like that was going to be the right amount of time," Cowell tells the New York Times. "It still feels right."
Of course, many surmise that Cowell is simply seeking a more massive payday — Idol now nets him an estimated $36 million a season — when Fox inevitably invites him back to the bargaining table. But Simon insists his recent public comments are "not negotiating."
"I don't want to get bored, and I don't want the audience to get bored," he says.
Should Cowell actually "break up" with Ryan Seacrest, he could decide to adapt Britain's X Factor — which, unlike Idol, he owns — for the United States.
Paula Abdul, whose own Idol deal expires at the end of this season, is also giving her future on TV's most popular program some thought. Despite feeling somewhat dissed when producers neglected to consult her or Randy Jackson on the addition of fourth judge Kara DioGuardi this season, Abdul seems in a positive frame of mind as she nears contract talks.
"I love the show, I do," she tells ABC's Nightline, in an interview to air Thursday night. "I love what I do on the show, and I'm loving it more this season than ever."