Posh Spice, Katy Perry to fill in on 'Idol'

Thu Aug 6, 2009 3:50pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singers Katy Perry, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, and other female artists will be guest judges on "American Idol" this upcoming season to help replace departing Paula Abdul, Fox television executives said on Thursday.

But Fox and the producers of the most-watched American television show said they are searching for a permanent, fourth judge to sit in Abdul's seat when the ninth season of the show returns to TV in early 2010.

Fox appeared to close the door on any further talks with Abdul, who abruptly announced in a Tweet this week that she was quitting after seven years when she failed to secure a new contract with a big enough pay raise.

"We very much wanted her to return," said Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment at Fox, "We made an offer that we feel was very fair. It was a substantial raise. It was not our choice."

Asked whether there was still a chance that the popular but volatile Abdul might still find a way back to the show, Rice told reporters gathered at an event showcasing new programs: "Our understanding is that we have concluded the negotiations and Paula has announced she is not coming back."

However former Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said he held out some hope for a comeback.

"I still don't know that she is going to leave 'Idol'. Until 'Idol' goes on the air there are always opportunities for renegotiations," Lythgoe told reporters separately. He said he may meet Abdul this weekend to talk about opportunities with his own TV contest show on Fox "So You Think You Can Dance."

"I've been trying to get her since season one (of "So You Think You Can Dance)", Lythgoe said.   Continued...

<p>Singer Katy Perry performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York July 24, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>