Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick fired as American Idol producers

American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick have been fired by Fox, finally paving the way for the show to be redefined, perhaps by producers who will have contestants sing songs that were produced in the same century as their birth. Fox said in a statement,

“The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to American Idol guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon. 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 “we are saddened” part is a nice touch, and by nice, I mean, hilariously dickish.

Nigel confirmed Saturday morning that he was fired, writing in another tweet, ” I’m on [So You Think You Can Dance]. FOX still loves me. It’s not a personal thing they just feel IDOL needs new leadership after 12 Seasons.”

Yes.

That said, Nigel does not deserve all the blame; he left the show after its seventh season, but returned for its 10th season. His exit in 2008 was an attempt to revive the show, and that worked so well Fox brought him back two years later.

Update: Here’s Nigel’s 289-word statement:

“It has been a tremendous honor to launch and build American Idol over the course of a decade and to see it recognized with 51 nominations and 6 EMMY Awards including the Academy’s highest honor, the Governors Award. To be a part of the spin-off program, IDOL GIVES BACK was incredible. As well as raising nearly $200 million for various charities it was a personal life-changing experience for me. It also provided me with the opportunity to produce and direct a magical sequence with Celine Dion together with Elvis Presley. This continues to be one of the highlights of my entire career. Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global phenomenon. It has been inspiring to find and launch the careers of artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips and many more, spanning all musical styles and genres. I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain this incredible platform for America’s young talent. This will only happen with the success of the program. If the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints. It has been a great ride and I’ve loved every moment of it. After dedicating over 12 years to Idol, I look forward to continuing work on my beloved So You Think You Can Dance, which is going strong in its 10th season. In addition, this will allow me more time to devote to Nigel Lythgoe Productions and our exciting new partnership with Shine America.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.