EXCLUSIVE: Simon Cowell sure knows how to turn up the behind-the-scenes drama on TV shows, whether he’s appearing on them or producing them. I’ve just learned that Paula Abdul has been asked to show up for the judges panel for his U.S. version of The X Factor in Los Angeles on Sunday. But here’s the thing: I’m told her deal still isn’t done yet but is in “final negotiations.” Reps are working all day and probably all night to get it done before tomorrow’s 1 PM and 6 PM tapings of auditions with wannabe contestants when the full judgespanel assembles for the first time at USC’s Galen Center. But Simon Cowell is counting on his former American Idol sidekick to show up anyway because, hey, they’re friends. ”But will she really show up? No way her reps will let her go if that deal isn’t done,” an insider just told me. The sticking point at first was that CBS still had a hold on Abdul stemming from her deal to headline another TV talent series as lead judge, Live to Dance, which debuted in January 2011 only to be canceled after one season. CBS wasn’t letting Paula go to Fox at first. That now seems to have been ironed out, but there still are several deal points to finalize. “She’s been asked to show up tomorrow whether her deal is done or not,” an insider explained to me.
Meanwhile, there’s also been behind-the-scenes drama regarding picking the hosts for The X Factor.