Fox has reportedly fired Nigel Lythgoe (pictured) as the executive producer of American Idol after 12 years.
“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 tweeted on Saturday (June 8). “It’s not a personal thing they just feel Idol needs new leadership after 12 seasons.”
The 63-year-old added that he will continue to executive produce Fox’s reality dance competition series, So You Think You Can Dance.
In a statement, the network confirmed that both Lythgoe and executive producer Ken Warwick are departing the reality singing competition series, which saw ratings fall to their lowest point in 12 years this past season.
“The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to American Idol guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon,” the statement reads. “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 producers are following Idol judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, as well as the network’s president of alternative entertainment Mike Darnell, out the door.
Lythgoe worked on Pop Idol in the United Kingdom and helped launch American Idol in the United States in 2002 with Simon Cowell. The series is coproduced by FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment. He is the co-creator and executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance and his production company, Nigel Lythgoe Produtions, has a development deal with Shine America to jointly develop and produce entertainment franchises within the Shine Group.
The news follows the appointment of News Corp. senior EVP David Hill to oversee American Idol and The X Factor on behalf of Fox.