Former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed he will be returning to American Idol for the show’s upcoming 10th season. Lythgoe, executive producer and judge on So You Think You Can Dance, would also like to see former judge Paula Abdul return to the show.
“I still love Paula,” Nigel Lythgoe told Daily Variety. Paula Abdul is currently working on her own new dancing show on CBS, but Lythgoe would dearly like to get her back on American Idol too. “She’s signed to CBS, probably exclusively, but I’d recommend we have her in a heartbeat.”
Ellen DeGeneres recently announced she would not be returning to American Idol and rumor has it songwriter Kara DioGuardi might be out as well. Simon Cowell, of course, is already long out the door. Only Randy Jackson will remain to represent the original judging cast. We’d personally love to see Abdul back at the American Idol judges table too.
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and diva Jennifer Lopez are rumored to be working on deals with FOX to possibly come on board as American Idol judges. So far Lythgoe and FOX are keeping quiet about the rumors.
Paula Abdul‘s seat is still warm after quitting the show earlier this week, but American Idol execs are already scouting for guest judges to fill in for the newly departed icon. First up, former Spice Girl “Posh” Victoria Beckham.
The wife of superstar soccer god David Beckham will reportedly earn over $200,000 for a one-time guest judge appearance on American Idolâ€™s 9th season.
Meanwhile, Paula Abdul said on Wednesday that she is already missing her co-judges on Idol and told TMZ.com jokingly that she’s sure Simon Cowell “misses me already” too.
As for that offer from former American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe to guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, Paula isn’t sure what she’ll be doing next. “It’s been overwhelming what’s going on right now, so I have to really carefully think about everything.”
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.