Abdul left the singing competition show at the end of Season 8 because she couldn't reach a deal with the "Idol" producers. She has since signed on to serve as host, judge and executive producer for "Got to Dance," a dancing competition show for CBS to start next season.
Lythgoe this week confirmed he would return as an executive producer on "Idol" after he left in 2008 to focus on another series, "So You Think You Can Dance." He returns amid a shake-up at "Idol" that includes two vacancies on the judging panel, one left by departing "Idol" icon Simon Cowell.
"I still love Paula," Lythgoe told Variety. "She's signed to CBS, probably exclusively, but I'd recommend we have her in a heartbeat."
TVGuide.com said calls and e-mail messages to Abdul's representatives weren't immediately returned.