Nigel Lythgoe confirms his exit from 'American Idol'
Fox appears to be shaking things up over at "American Idol" after seeing a drop in ratings during season 12 and longtime executive producer Nigel Lythgoe announced over the weekend that he had been axed from the competition series.
"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," he wrote in one Tweet on Saturday, June 8.
He later added, "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."
Lythgoe released a statement, which was obtained by OTRC.com, on his departure from the series on Monday, June 10, and said, "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 six Emmy Awards including the Academy's highest honor, the Governors Award."
He added that he was also proud of the annual "Idol Gives Back" episodes, which raised nearly $200 million for various charities.
"Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global phenomenon," he said in his statement. "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," he added. "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."
Lythgoe said he will still be involved with "So You Think You Can Dance," which began its 10th season on May 14, and his departure from "American Idol" will leave him more time to devote to his production company. The 63-year-old is the executive producer of "So You Think You Can Dance" and also serves as a judge.
Lythgoe's exit from the show was confirmed by Fox in a statement to Billboard on Saturday. The statement also confirmed the departure of executive producer Ken Warwick.
"The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to 'American Idol' guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon," Fox's statement to Billboard said. "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."
The show is set to undergo some more changes after Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj announced their departures from the show last month. Jackson had served as a judge on the series since its debut in 2002. Carey and Minaj joined the judge's table, along with Keith Urban, at the start of season 12. It is unknown if Urban will return to the show next season.
"American Idol" struggled in the ratings this year. The season 12 finale, which took place earlier this month, had the lowest ratings the show has ever received since it premiered in 2002.