ETA: The Hollywood Reporter confirms the rumor:
“Due to the huge success of ‘So You Think You Can Dance, ‘ my summer will be taken up by travels to South Africa, Australia and Canada to work on local versions of the show, ” Lythgoe said. “I will step back from my day-to-day producing work on ‘American Idol’ and will be devoting my time to a new venture with Simon Fuller.”
19 Entertainment denied “online rumors” that Lythgoe was leaving the company. “Contrary to online rumors, producer Nigel Lythgoe is not leaving 19 Entertainment, ” the statement said. Lythgoe will also continue to executive produce Fox’s summer hit “Dance, ” which was recently renewed for a fifth season.
Normally, I wouldn’t link to the asshats at TMZ on my front page, but I find this item intriguing enough to break my ban:
Nigel Lythgoe is off “American Idol.”
TMZ has learned Lythgoe, who has executive produced the show for seven seasons, has just taken himself off the program and will not return. No replacement has been named.
We’re told Lythgoe felt it was time for someone else to step in. Sources say he’s said privately he is “not passionate about it anymore.” “A.I.’s” ratings slipped last season, and the show was getting a little boring.
If this is true, it could have some interesting repercussions for the show. If Nigel is bored, it might be best that he move on. The show is getting a bit long in the tooth. Maybe it’s time for some new blood.
On the other hand, as much as I criticize the American Idol producers, struggling to get through NBC’s badly-produced Nashville Star has made me realize that Idol is, for the most part, a really well-produced show. I’d say ditto for Nigel’s highly entertaining summer show, So You Think You Can Dance.
I’m sure more will be revealed…