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Sing To Stay: Employment Contract Renewal Time for American Idol Judges

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By Neetal Parekh on July 20, 2009 1:31 PM

Hosting a reality show just became a bigger deal-- in fact, the biggest of its kind.  Ryan Seacrest-- host of the wildly popular singing showdown American Idol reportedly signed a to stay on in his role in the show.  This would make him the highest paid reality host on television.

And while Seacrest may be a fan favorite, the spotlight is now on the remaining American Idol judges.  Who will stay to sing another day and will anyone be sent packing?

Idol judge newbie Kara DioGuardi signed a one-year contract to join the judge's table for show's recent eighth season.  And though there is nothing on the table for her, Simon Cowell has expressed his confidence that all of the American Idol judges will return.  Idol Judge is out of the negotiation hot-seat for now as his contract is not up until after next season.

In a rather bold with the LA Times blog dedicated to all things-American Idol,  Paula Abdul's spokesperson expressed regret and disappointment that the starlet and host of the show since its inception in 2002 may not be extended a contract for the upcoming 9th season.  Reports suggest that the short-lived "Hey Paula" reality show host was making a fraction of Seacrest's projected $15 million/year deal and was negotiating to up her contract to a .  But so far, it appears that silence is the only song playing at FOX Networks.

And Abdul's fate may be determined by another Idol judge heavy-hitter.  The acerbic Simon Cowell will reportedly be offered per year, upping his current contract figures significantly.  And just as Simon and Paula have often bumped heads in the show, paying for his hefty contract could effectually bump her out of her judge's seat. 

Though not everyone deals in as many zeros in , we can all learn from the process.  Basic tenets in negotiating include having a clear objective, researching facts, laws and comparable figures.  Drafting an initial employment contract, either using a template/existing contract or with the help of an attorney, is another technique that could be helpful at the negotiating table. 

Using social media innovations, Paula's fans have come to her rescue and online shows of support.  Will it be enough to keep her another day, or will she be watching it at home, like the rest of us... we'll just have to stay tuned to find out.


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