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.

RELATED | American Idol: TVLine’s Michael Slezak Lists 3 Priorities for the New EPs

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.

RELATED | American Idol: 30 Best Performances of All Time

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.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

52 Comments
  1. Midori says:

    What will he say when SYTYCD is canceled after this season?

    • brycealexander says:

      It won’t be canceled. It’d done a wonderful job positioning itself as a culturally important show. It’s a franchise that Fox has put a lot of money into. And Fox won’t be able to get much better ratings during the summer. Keeping it is a win-win-win.

      • Temperance says:

        Plus, it’s AWESOME!!!

      • Midori says:

        You really don’t understand how TV works do you? It cost a lot of money and the ratings are falling every season. Nothing last forever. There was a lot of talk last year that it might not get renewed. Ten seasons is a nice long run for a show, and Fox might want to stop at that number.

        Plus if it’s such a success, why did they get rid of a third of the show a week? There is no more result show.

        The show can’t be cheap, it’s more likely the show will get canceled and replaced with Gordon’s Bed and Breakfast where he has teams of chefs cook him means in bed, or something equally as stupid.

    • Martoukian says:

      I hope he’d run away and hide in a deep cave with that annoying woman from the Dance show.

  2. Vetle says:

    You know what I want them to do? Raise the age limit! I don’t mind 15 year-olds, but I wouldn’t mind the upper age limit being something like 35. I think we have that in Norway, that or 36.

  3. American Idol should have been cancelled about seven years ago. SYTYCD should go on forever – it gets better every year. Especially since they brought back the all stars. Fox should bring back the second night elimination show though.

    • Martoukian says:

      You seem to have your shows backward: Idol, even with diminishing returns, is FAR more successful than that Dance show has ever been.

      • Temperance says:

        And that’s why the US is totally screwed up – people that think the only thing that matters is cash.

      • I believe that Diane was referring the the quality of So You think You Can Dance which has gotten better every single year. We lost some ratings when the format kept changing for a few season but the format we have now is pretty rock solid and I’m hoping some viewers come back this season. Unfortunately the almighty buck does rule American TV so I’m just praying for an uptick in ratings this season. I hate American Idol, here’s a thought, instead of picking people based on how good they’ll look on screen how about choosing them based on how good they sound. I can’t stand listening to all the thin toned flat singing on that show. It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

  4. forwarddad says:

    Big mistake to go all idol judges…

  5. “Lambert of Clay ” or

  6. Nephtalia says:

    I actually love Nigel. But I agree that after 12 years, Idol needs fresh blood and mind. 18 millions is still a fairly large audience. I think the #1 change is to limit the votes. I also like how The Voice allowed everyone to chart on iTunes and to use those iTunes sales as votes. This is the most practical thing ever. It shows who the public would support the most when idol is over. No more pimping, no more throwing under the bus. I may watch season 13 then. But, they need to allow every contestant to built a career. No matter where they got out. There is place for everybody. Look at 1D, Fifth Harmony, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon. None of those won their talent show, but built a fanbase for life. Idol needs to allow that

    • Josh says:

      You just listed Idols in there. How can they “need to do” something you just said they’re already doing?

    • reality says:

      Jessica Sánchez is a flop. She hasnt built any fanbase.

      • Name That Tune says:

        I’d be careful about using the word “flop”. That comes from the idea that the only path to success for these kids is to sell records. They have other opportunities open to them. Jessica was awesome on Glee.
        Last night I saw “Ballroom With A Twist” – a show touring this summer featuring professionals from Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. And 2 former contestants from American Idol – Gina Glockson from Season 6 and Von Smith (Wild Card Season 8). Guess what? Those 2 can sing and they’re working in the business. And the size of the audience was not small.
        Take your blinders off. Success is not measured by the number of downloads you get from iTunes.

  7. Julie says:

    I think they should keep Keith Urban. I liked him. No drama and more honest. I will not watch if clay or Adam are on there, they are not qualified. Need older, more professional, and more famous.

    • BenM says:

      @Julie – I agree they need to keep Keith. Plus as I have said here before I see an ‘all-alumni’ judges panel as gimmicky and while it won’t have me switch off, I don’t think it is any better than signing people like Mariah who are big names but not great judges.

    • Jenny says:

      Think they should keep Keith as well. I think one former Idol will be okay but not a full panel. They need people who will give actual constructive feedback and will not fall on predetermined phrase given by producers or worrying about how their own image might be affected if they say someone did not do a good job.

  8. brycealexander says:

    Okay Matt. You’re my favorite TV Line writer but come on. That final paragraph was copied-and-pasted from an earlier article, which would be fine except you kept the same error the second time! Miss the error once, no big deal. Reread the paragraph, copy the paragraph and then proof the article and it still isn’t fixed?–shame on you! As my mother says, “I still love you, just do better next time.”

  9. Janie Fox says:

    What qualifies a person to judge an American Idol contest. Keith Urban… I don’t think so. He’s not American. Both judges and contestants should be natural born United States citizens. How about veteran American mega-blockbuster singer/songwriters with proven international appeal, like Carole King, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, and Kenny Rogers to name a few? How many Americans wouldn’t tune in to watch that panel judge and advise up and coming singing stars?

    • B says:

      98% of people in the key youth demographic (the one that matters to Fox) would not tune in just to see that panel. No way Jose.
      And so what if Keith Urban isn’t American? A foreign citizen can’t judge and advise singers? It’s not a show about being like “An Idol American”/”Best American.” It’s about singing! And yes, foreign nation and peoples do judge and work with the United States. There’s no reason that can’t happen on the Idol stage.
      In any case, AI has a long history of using foreign-born judges and it’s been the most successful singing reality show in history, so I think nationalities don’t matter. I mean, the creator (Fuller) is English. Cowell is English. Minaj was born in Trinidad. Urban in New Zealand. So it doesn’t matter. Don’t be a xenophobe.

    • Nicole says:

      The problem with those you named and all the others in people’s dream judging panel is none of them are interested in judging Idol, and some of them don’t have the time even if they were interested. It’s nice to throw out big names or qualified names, but what’s the point when none of them will take the job. Get real people, they need to find judges who are excited about joining the AI family…..not so easy to find. And why so old? Part of the problem with Idol is the young viewers find it difficult to relate to any of those you named and the songs they do on Idol are so dated. Idol needs to spend money on getting a use of a better list of songs for the contestants to chose from. There are successful and qualified people who are younger and relevant to today’s music, but still know voice and are articulate. Idol keeps getting judges who are not articulate – both Mariah and Nicki were a mess – and Randy was just on repeat for the last 5 years.
      The show needs to return to being about the contestants and not about the judges. Viewers tuning in to hear them sing, not because a big name is judging.

    • lyn says:

      Your list of judges would play well to the nursing home set, but that isn’t Idol’s key demographic. Even younger singer/songwriters like Jon Bon Jovi would be borderline. Bruno Mars or Adele would be closer to the mark. As for not being American, should they also only do songs written by Americans? There goes anything written by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams, Elton John etc.. I think all of the contestants should be American, but that’s as far as I’d go with it.

      • Jason says:

        No one of the best contestants ever was Carly Smithson and she was not AMerican. Probablt why she lost though!!

  10. Temperance says:

    Whomever takes over needs to do a serious and deep overhaul. The show originally seemed slick and polished, but now seems so very fake and plastic. Only the contestants come off as real, and they seem to be marginalized as much as possible compared to the judges and the producers and the production. It’s bizarre, so that need to be reversed immediately.

  11. I think that they need at least one producer on the panel. I think David Foster would make a great Judge. His worked with some of the best artist.

    • Tahoe Mike says:

      David Foster is a colossal a-zole. Talk about someone who makes it all about themselves! That would make me check out.

      • Nicole says:

        You’re right about that @Tahoe Mike. Foster is very egotistical, even if he is talented, and he’s a real bore.

        • lyn says:

          ITA Foster makes Nigel and Cowell seem humble. IMO nothing will fix Idol unless they limit the voting. People stop caring when they know their faves have no chance against idiotic power voters who commandeer every cell phone in the house, the land line and the computer to vote for someone cute regardless of whether or not they can sing.

          • teatime says:

            Idol’s got the best voting results of any of these shows. The winners are usually the most successful of their season. A couple times when the winner was not the most successful, the runner up was. The last thing I would want is to have the judges or producers have more say. Let the fans vote. If they added in iTunes sales as well, I would be all for that. But it probably would not make a difference.

  12. paula says:

    Nigel being gone is good, but the best thing they could do to fix AI is limit the voting to a certain number of votes per phone call, text, or online. I also think an all-alum judging panel is not a good idea. Maybe two alums and two people who have been in the business longer or in a different capacity, like a producer. Probably the main reason they want alums is because the think they can pay them less.

    That said, if Adam is one of the judges, I will watch every episode.

    • lyn says:

      Except four judges take too long. Three judges makes for a better pace. IMO.

    • teatime says:

      Please only 3 judges! Hopefully that decision has already been made.
      The voting has been working out very well for Idol. I’ll be surprised if they change that other than to add more ways to vote like counting iTunes sales. You really can’t argue with how successful their contestants are.

  13. lala says:

    Keep Keith! And put articulate judges with a successful but discreet profile from the music industry – so they don’t steal the limelight from the contestants. They have to be articulate and straightforward like how tyra banks gives feedback with her antm models. Otherwise they bore the viewers when they go beyond 30 seconds..

  14. CAM says:

    Yes, keep Keith so there’s a little continuity. He did fine and until the end when it seemed he was being told more what to say, he was very honest and gave good feedback. I think they could use someone like Harry Connick, jr. I also think they could do what they do on SYTYCD and have the 3rd judge rotate between different people, perhaps former contestants.

  15. Shaun says:

    I wish they’d kick him from SYTYCD too.The panel and choreographers are just so stale these days.

  16. Catfish says:

    It’s not so much that the show is under threat of cancellation if they don’t hold the average number of audience from this year – which was down about 30% from last year —— it’s more about what they can charge for a 30 second (for instance) ad on the show. ……………

    Some networks were posting 4 million viewers when Idol had around 10 to 14 some weeks in the regular season. But, they are losing the mega-cash cow at a rapid rate with the type of show they put on the air this year. ……………………………… Last year the Idol tour was down about 10% in ticket sales, but this year – so far- they haven’t even sold half the tickets they did last year, and already dropped about 10 early shows………

    . This reflects that the concert-going public doesn’t feel big excitement for this top ten. Usually the top 3 or 4 are the main ticket draws, so they can only hope things look better as they roll in July.

  17. Jason says:

    Can’t really blame nigel. Once Simon left the clock was ticking! He actually did a good job of replacing him with Nicki Minaj!! Had Mariah Carey not prove d to be a terrible bore I think he would have kept his job. Or had the panel just been Randy, Nikki and Keith it would have worked much better without the cat fight!!

    • Jason says:

      I mean you don’t give someone a 20 million dollar contract beffore testing if they could do the job. I don’t care how famous she is!! That was Nigel’s big mistake(if that was even his decision.)

  18. Ari says:

    Javier Colon (1st season winner) and Dia Frampton (runner-up) sold many singles on Itunes, as did Jermaine Paul (s2 winner) Juliet Simms, Tony Lucca, and Chris Mann. Name one of them who is selling well now, or anytime after their season ended. Cassadee Pope is doing ok with her first single, but is it in the top 10 or even top 50? No. To be fair, she hasn’t done promotion yet, but I’m saying all of this to conclude that Itunes sales during the show mean nothing for the artists post-show. At least not so far. If these artists aren’t given adequate promotion and radio airplay, then it’s all downhill from there.

  19. sandi says:

    While they are looking for judges I think they should ask Will Smith. He has music experience, etc., etc. AND for something really different on Idol and Sense of Humor. He would be perfect!

  20. Great items from you, man. I have keep in mind your stuff prior to and
    you’re simply too wonderful. I actually like what you have bought right here, really like what you are stating and the way in which during which you say it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific website.

  21. Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this web site,
    for the reason that i want enjoyment, for the reason that
    this this site conations in fact pleasant funny stuff too.