Well, it looks like we won’t have Nigel to bitch about this season on American Idol. Maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber night was the last straw. Or Neil Diamond. Or any of the other demographic-killing theme nights we witnessed last season. Nigel has been American Idol’s producer since the beginning, and rumors have it he’s lost his passion for the show. He’s leaving right as Fox faces the challenge of staying on top in its eighth season.

Nigel’s negotiating a joint-venture deal with American Idol creator Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment. You’ve probably seen Nigel sitting behind the Idol judges during the show, and if you watch “So You Think You Can Dance?” you know him well! Nigel produces SYTYCD also, and stated that:

I will step back from my day-to-day producing work on ‘American Idol’ and will be devoting my time to the new enterprise

The change comes as Idol tries to keep its hold on the No. 1 ratings spot, a rare trick for an aging show. Last season the ratings had a small downturn, and the audience age shifted a bit older. The demographic shift is probably the more worrisome piece of data.

Fox congratulated Lythgoe on his new venture but acknowledged it was “disappointed” that he would not be continuing as executive producer. No word on whether Nigel will have any sort of involvement in the show going forward, or what Nigel, Simon Fuller and 19E’s new venture will be. The show returns January 19th, 2009. 19E says the new producers have yet to be decided.

Wow. Things are about to get REAL interesting. And could possibly go straight into the crapper.



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