Nigel Lythgoe to return as executive producer of 'American Idol'

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In a statement released earlier today, Fox Broadcasting Company announced that British producer Nigel Lythgoe would rejoin American Idol as the television series' executive producer. Lythgoe formerly held the position for the first seven seasons of the series.

Lythgoe, who had been with American Idol since its inception, left to concentrate on dancing show So You Think You Can Dance two years ago. Fox said that Lythgoe would continue as a judge and executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance. He will join executive producers Simon Fuller, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, and Ken Warwick for the tenth season of Idol.

The announcement, which had been rumored for several weeks, came during a period of falling viewership for the show, as well as the departure of two judges on the show. Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres will not return for the tenth season of American Idol, which begins airing in January 2011. Fox says that it will have selected replacements in time for the show's auditions next month, but who those replacements will be has been the subject of media speculation. Some reports claim that actress Jennifer Lopez or musician Steven Tyler may join the show. Other changes to the show include lowering the minimum age for contestants to fifteen and reducing the results episodes to 30 minutes.

Along with friend Simon Fuller, Lythgoe helped to create the UK series Pop Idol, later working with Fuller to bring the series to the United States as American Idol. Working with Idol "not only was an inspirational journey into the heart of American pop culture, it opened my eyes to the untapped potential of the incredibly dynamic young people in this world," Lythgoe said.