American Idol Fires Long Time Producer after Ratings Loss

(Disney/Eric McCandless) RYAN SEACREST, ABI CARTER

American Idol/Fremantle fire long time producer Wyleen May

American Idol recently fired a long time producer Wyleen May who has worked on the singing competition since it began in 2002 has been let go by producer Fremantle media.

According to Deadline, May left after the most recent run, season 22 (or season 7, by ABC), which ended on May 19.

“It is hard to express the gratitude I have to the team at Fremantle and American Idol, the place I knew as home for the last 22 years. It may sound cliche, but it was my absolute honor to work day in and day out with people I consider to be some of the most talented, dedicated, and devoted in the business. I will miss you terribly,” she said in a statement to Deadline.

She continued, “That being said, I am sad to be leaving. I will forever cherish my time with Idol, and hope I am remembered for my experience, passion, and dedication to my role. All we want for ourselves is to know that our work had a lasting impact. I am excited for my next journey, and what that will bring. Sometimes you need a little push forward, and I am grateful for all of it – beginning, middle, and end.”

May underwent an HR investigation last year

There is a twist, however. May underwent an Human Resources investigation at the end of 2023. By May and Fremantle insist that the HR investigation did not impact May’s exit from the show.

“Unfortunately, my exit has been the subject of hurtful speculation and innuendo. Yes, at the end of 2023, I was the subject of an HR investigation following a complaint about how I interacted with certain members of my team. I fully and completely cooperated with this investigation, and it was closed quickly without any action taken. The decision to move on from me to a new EIC is not related, and any implication otherwise is completely misleading and inaccurate,” she added.

“Wylleen has played a crucial role in helping build the lasting legacy of American Idol over the course of 22 seasons. She steered the production to enduring success, and we are deeply grateful for her contributions and dedication to the show. The decision to make staffing changes for the next season was not based on the conclusion of any investigation,” a Fremantle spokeswoman told Deadline.

Could May’s departure have to do with budget cuts after American Idol double digit ratings loss?

Perhaps May’s exit has more to do with falling ratings and ad revenues, than HR woes. The new Executive in Charge of Production may be paid less than May. Or maybe executive producer Megan Michaels Wolflick is looking for staff that is able to shake things up.

While American Idol performed well enough to nab a renewal from ABC, the show lost viewers in the double digits between seasons 21 and 22. Nearly all broadcast network shows lost audience from season to season, American Idol went from a -8 percentage loss the year before to a -26 percent loss this year. Additionally, American Idol – Sunday went from a 10 ranking in 18-49 viewers in 2022-23 season to a 24 ranking for the 2023-2024 season. Check out all the stats HERE.

May’s departure could be the first of many changes to come. Watch this space!

About mj santilli 35048 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!