- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2009

Rumors were rife the past few weeks that Paula Abdul might not return as a judge on “American Idol.” But fans of the reality series still were shocked when the singer and choreographer announced her departure this week on Twitter. Insiders say she didn’t think the raise she was offered was enough, but let’s hope the notoriously incoherent Miss Abdul thought long and hard before quitting the ratings juggernaut that resurrected her career.

1. David Caruso — “NYPD Blue” — and a bare backside — made the ginger-haired actor an instant star. His ego eventually brought him back down to earth — he left the show after barely more than a season for a film career that culminated in the famous flop “Jade.” Now he’s probably too scared to leave “CSI: Miami,” the hit that gave him back his career.

2. Suzanne Somers — The blond bombshell went on strike when “Three’s Company” producers wouldn’t meet her demands for an exorbitant raise, and they responded by not renewing her contract. The show remained in the Top 10 for two seasons without her, and she became best known as the pitchwoman for the ThighMaster.

3. Shelley Long — Miss Long also left a highly rated series for the greener pastures of a film career — except her first film project after “Cheers” was “Troop Beverly Hills.” The bar sitcom wasn’t as good without her, but the show got better ratings when Kirstie Alley replaced her.

4. McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers — The actors grew tired of playing second- and third-fiddle to Alan Alda on “M*A*S*H” and left after the third season. Mr. Stevenson went on to appear in four sitcoms that tanked almost immediately, and both men later admitted they regretted leaving the series, which became one of the most beloved of all time.

5. Valerie Harper — What’s worse — getting fired from a show named after you or watching the ratings of said show go up after you’re fired? “Valerie” became, after her departure, “Valerie’s Family” and then “The Hogan Family.”

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