'Ugly Betty' scoop: Kristen Johnston in, Paula Abdul out!

Kristen-Johnston_lTake note, American Idol: This is how you replace Paula Abdul.

Ugly Betty has tapped 3rd Rock Emmy winner Kristen Johnston to replace Abdul in the now-recurring role of Helen, Mode’s newest office temp and Amanda’s elder doppelganger. Abdul had been in negotiations to play the part, but last week the deal came undone — in part, I hear, due to the ex-Idol judge’s insane list of demands. (Two words: Private. Jet.)

“I’ve always considered myself a poor man’s Paula Abdul,” Johnston says with a laugh. She describes her Betty character as “Amanda in 10 years. She’s still trying to get into the right clubs, wearing tight dresses… tragic. I think [Helen] sees herself as Samantha from Sex and the City. Except, of course, she’s a temp.”

Johnston will first appear in the second half of Betty‘s two-hour premiere on Oct. 9.

Thoughts? Did Betty trade up by hiring Johnston? (Hint: The answer is yes.) Sound off below! (Additional reporting by Tanner Stransky)

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  • maiv

    yes, i think she makes more sense than paula ever did on this show.

  • kyleintexas

    Du-uh ! Ummmm, I like Abdul as a person, but as an actress….. notsomuch.

  • Reena

    LOVE THIS NEWS! Even though she was only on for 1 episode I loved her on Sex and the City and religiously watch 3rd Rock one of the best shows in my mind EVER!

  • Staci

    Johnston is the perfect fit for the role. It was meant to be. very excited to see her w/ Newton, I’m sure the scenes will be priceless.

  • Teresa

    This is a definite trade up. I like Paula but I think we are now seeing who caused the breakdown of negotiations with American Idol.

  • David4

    Need more proof that Paula is nuts… sheesh…

    I Kristen Johnston! I will still not what the show but always nice to hear from the great Kristen Johnston!

  • Sally in Chicago

    Paula can’t act.
    Is it me or does it seem that Paula isn’t really THAT popular and/or well liked outside of IDOL? She was off my radar for so long until Idol and I think she’s cute as a button….but I keep reading gossips about how the backstage crew didn’t like her…too divaish.

  • paul

    Not that I was excited to see it or anything but I’m assuming this means the american AbFab is a no go since she was supposed to be cast as Patsy

    • annie

      I hope the remake of AbFab is a no go! It was bound to suck. No one can remake Edina and Patsy.

  • chris

    Kristen Johnston is comedy gold! She was perfect on “3rd Rock from the Sun” as Sally! This casting news makes me excited to watch “Ugly Betty” in the Fall!

    • Laura

      Totally! Kristen is going to fit in SOOOOOO well with this role…..they couldn’t have picked a better person!!

      • Ofri

        I guess they know she’ll be a great fit for the role, especially since she played it five years ago on Sex and the City. Sort of lame, but Johnston is a great actress and I won’t begrudge a girl for taking a role, especially on a show like Ugly Betty.

  • Morgan

    Johnston is going to be great opposite Becki Newton. Really stellar.

  • Jennifer

    I stopped watching Ugly Betty last year. Couldn’t take Betty anymore. Now I’m definitely going to check it out again.

  • Conor O’Brien

    this is the best bit of entertainment news in days! much better idea, she suits Betty much more, but what happened her ‘AbFab’ remake, was it not picked up? is there still life in it?

  • mike

    I actually saw the pilot for AbFab. I thought it was really funny, Johnston rocked it. The other lady wasn’t as good. But it was still better than most of the crap on TV.

  • Tim

    Love Kristen Johnston. Hope this gig goes full time. She’s great. Paula can’t act. And she wanted a private jet? wtf? Pills have went to Paula’s head and her ego is getting a bit inflated from all the post Idol attention. She should stick to selling jewelry and or getting back to singing.

  • Richard

    i think paula abdul overestimates her popularity. did anyone see her reality show? she’s not very likable.

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