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Just hours before the premiere of American Idol‘s eighth season, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly scoffed at the suggestion that judge Paula Abdul might be ready to make her exit after this season.

"Paula’s an integral part of the show," Reilly told reporters at the TV Critics Association on Tuesday morning.  "We want to have her as long as the show goes."

The addition of fourth judge Kara DioGuardi at the beginning of last summer’s audition period has raised eyebrows, especially since Paula is reportedly on the last year of her Idol contract.

Still, Reilly claims no one is unhappy with the new, four-judge arrangement. "Everyone is committed to playing with the formula a little.  So far, so good."

Find out whether Kara is just what the show needs when the new season of American Idol begins tonight on Fox.

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