*The drama has already started with Paula Abdul regarding “The X Factor.”
The singer-turned-reality-TV personality just closed a multimillion-dollar deal to reunite with her former “American Idol” cohort Simon Cowell on the forthcoming Fox series, but her agents at United Talent Agency are still waiting for their cut, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
As far as Paula is concerned, they’ll be waiting a long time.
Sources close to the situation say Abdul is refusing to pay the standard 10% agency commission on her ‘X Factor’ deal, which closed May 7 and allowed Abdul to join Cowell on stage in Los Angeles for the start of the show’s judging rounds this past weekend.
Abdul is said to believe she should not owe commissions on the ‘X Factor’ deal because it arose from her relationship with Cowell, which predates the UTA representation. That position has led to a standoff between the star and one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies.
UTA began representing Abdul after she abruptly quit “American Idol” in 2009 during negotiations for the show’s eighth season. At the time, Abdul was demanding a hefty raise from the reported $3.5 million she made in compensation and perks from the country’s top-rated show.
The agency later arranged for Abdul to topline the dance competition series “Live to Dance,” which aired this winter on CBS. Abdul is said to have paid commissions on that deal.
When Cowell began assembling the judges for the U.S. version of his mega-hit U.K. show “X Factor,” he made it clear he was aiming to include Abdul. That’s when she is said to have informed her agents that they would need to forgo commissions on that deal if they wanted to continue to represent her. According to sources, UTA was later presented with a “take it or leave it” situation, meaning the agency must agree it won’t commission “X Factor” or terminate the relationship entirely.
As discussions between Abdul and UTA were ongoing, her “X Factor” deal started to come together. Because the relationship was in flux, Abdul’s manager Marty Tudor and attorney Erik Hyman are said to have taken the lead on those negotiations, which went down to the wire. Two sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Abdul will make between $2 million and $3 million for her services this season, though Fox and producers Fremantle and Syco Television declined to comment on the number.
Abdul, whose sometimes-erratic behavior is well documented, tends to hire and fire representatives frequently, notes the Hollywood Reporter. She’s had scores of publicists, managers, agents and lawyers over the years and has a reputation for being difficult, which of course is part of the charm that made her a star. Cowell referenced Abdul’s reputation at a press conference Sunday, saying of her prolonged deal negotiations, “She’s Paula Abdul. Nothing’s ever easy, but I’m used to it.”
Abdul is said to have scheduled a meeting with UTA for later this week to determine whether she will remain a client.