Nigel Lythgoe Confirms American Idol Ouster: 'They Feel the Show Needs New Leadership'

American Idol Fires Nigel LythgoeConfirming a recent report and surprising nobody, Nigel Lythgoe on Saturday confirmed that his reign as an American Idol executive producer has come to an end.

Lythgoe shared and qualified his ouster in a Twitter message to fans, while also assuring So You Think You Can Dance viewers that he’s not stepping away from that Fox gig.

https://twitter.com/dizzyfeet/status/343345581890076672
https://twitter.com/dizzyfeet/status/343356463969865728

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Earlier this month, it was reported that Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were exiting Fox’s long-running singing competition amid sagging ratings and a planned overhaul of the program during its current off-season that got underway when Season 12 judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, like Randy Jackson shortly before them, announced they wouldn’t return for the next cycle.

Season 12 premiered to 18 million viewers — Idol‘s least-watched opener since Season 1 (which aired during the summer) — and closed with 14.3 mil, down 33 percent versus Season 11 and the first time a coronation ceremony drew below 20 million viewers.

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Rumors persist that Fox is planning a panel comprised entirely of former Idol contestants, including Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and either Adam Lambert or Clay Aiken. With a new person — News Corp. TV executive David Hill — replacing reality-TV vet Mike Darnell in the role of overseeing Idol, expect Season 13 plans, judging panel included, to firm up in the coming months.