Nigel Lythgoe Confirms 'American Idol' Exit
Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed his departure from Fox's "American Idol," which TheWrap first reported four days ago.
The founding "Idol" producer addressed the news of his firing via Twitter on Saturday.
just had 10 days in the Bahamas, rain everyday. I get back to the States and get fired. Sad! Monday we choose our top 20. I'll smile again.— Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) June 8, 2013
Yes, don't worry I'm on #SYTYCD. FOX still loves me. It's not a personal thing they just feel IDOL needs new leadership after 12 Seasons.— Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) June 8, 2013
As we also first reported, longtime producer FremantleMedia's Ken Warwick is also not returning for Season 13.
Fox, Fremantle Media and 19 Entertainment officially confirmed the exits with the following statement to TheWrap:
"The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to 'American Idol' guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon. While we are saddened they will no longer be executive producers on the show, we are grateful for their tremendous contributions and look forward to continuing to work with them on additional projects."
Lythgoe and Warwick, who worked on "Idol's" predecessor, Britain's "Pop Idol," launched the popular U.S. version of the show together in 2002. Lythgoe left the show in 2008, then returned in 2010.
Their terminations arrive amid flux for the talent competition after alternative programming chief Mike Darnell's sudden Memorial Day weekend exit.
On Wednesday, Fox announced that News Corporation's senior executive vice president David Hill will oversee the upcoming season of "Idol" as it searches for Darnell's replacement.
TheWrap was the first to report in early May that there would be major changes next season, including the executive firings and a wipe-out of Season 12's judging panel. (Since our report, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have announced their departures, leaving only, at this point, Keith Urban.)
The producers are looking at candidates for new judges, though any final decisions were put on hold pending a successor to Darnell. According to insiders, alum Jennifer Hudson currently has a deal worked out to judge for $4-5.5 million, but Fox has yet to finalize her contract. First season champ Kelly Clarkson has an offer on the table, but according to her representatives she isn't interested in joining the talent show.
Also read: Nicki Minaj Confirms 'American Idol' Exit
While still one of the highest rated shows on broadcast TV, Fox's decision to make over the show is a result of its flagging ratings over its last several seasons. Season 12 saw a more than 20 percent decline in its ratings compared to the year before.