"There is going to be a search," FOX Chairman of Entertainment Peter Rice said at the FOX Television Critics Association panel discussion on Thursday morning.
Rice said up until 24 hours ago, when Paula hit her Twitter account to post the news she was not returning to the hit reality show, the network had hopes Paula would return.
"We were hoping Paula came back. We love Paula. She's been a really wonderful part of the show for eight years," Rice said. "There is going to be a change and that change we have to look at that as being a positive change. It wasn't a decision we made, but we have to look at it in a positive way."
Rice said they will look for "someone who has great chemistry" among the panel of judges which also includes Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson.
In the meatime, with "Idol" auditions set to begin in the coming weeks, the fourth judge's chair will be filled by celebrity guests, including former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and pop star Katy Perry.
"We'll have these guest judges do one week each during the audition [period]… there is no thought right now that any of these judges will be long term judge for us," Rice said. "All of the people we are talking to have successful careers. I don't even think they'd be available to judge full-time. We have now until January to introduce a new energy to the panel."
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