It’s a case of all change at the top for the forthcoming 13th season of American Idol. It has been confimed by Fox that Nigel Lythgoe has been fired as executive producer of the hit reality TV show. Lythgoe has released a statement yesterday which read:
“It has been a tremendous honor to launch and build American Idol over the course of a decade and to see it recognized with 51 nominations and 6 Emmy Awards including the Academy’s highest honor, the Governors Award. To be a part of the spin-off program, Idol Gives Back, was incredible. As well as raising nearly $200 million for various charities it was a personal life-changing experience for me. It also provided me with the opportunity to produce and direct a magical sequence with Celine Dion together with Elvis Presley. This continues to be one of the highlights of my entire career.
“Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global phenomenon. It has been inspiring to find and launch the careers of artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips and many more, spanning all musical styles and genres. I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain this incredible platform for America’s young talent. This will only happen with the success of the program. If the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints. It has been a great ride and I’ve loved every moment of it. After dedicating over 12 years to Idol, I look forward to continuing work on my beloved So You Think You Can Dance, which is going strong in its 10th season.”
He and Ken Warwick will be replaced by Swedish TV executive Per Blanken, who has been in charge of the Swedish version of Idol from 2007 – 2011. He was also head of programming for Meter Televsion, a Swedish TV company responsible for the Swedish versions of Idol, Masterchef and The Biggest Loser.
In a statement released by FremantleMedia North America, Idol’s executive producer Trish Kinane has said: “Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the show runner on the blockbuster Swedish Idol for more than 5 seasons. He is extremely passionate about Idol and I’m very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping Idol creatively vibrant. He brings the talent and energy needed to keep American Idol strong.”
However, in spite of his positive and upbeat statement, Lythgoe portrayed a different image when E! spoke to him on the Red Carpet of the Critic Choice Awards on Monday night. He said he discovered he had been fired from Idol whilst on holiday having read it on the internet. He said “It was embarrassing for everyone.”
However when he was asked about the rumours that ex-contestants such as Jennifer Hudson will be making up the judging panel, Mr. Lythgoe said that the ideal judging panel is a case of chemistry and how important screen tests are. He did suggest that the answer to the judging panel woes could be to try and lure back the original panel of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. It seems a very unlikely situation but would a return to the original judging panel draw back viewers?
Auditions for Season 13 of American Idol begin next month.