Nigel Lythgoe, who served as an executive producer on American Idol for the first seven seasons, will be returning to AI, joining co-executive producers Simon Fuller, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick.
“I am elated and honored to be rejoining childhood friend and fellow executive producer Ken Warwick, and look forward to creating more magic,” Lythgoe said.
Speaking on the return of Nigel, American Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said, “I am so happy to be welcoming Nigel back to the Idol family.
“This year, with Idol celebrating our 10th season as the world’s biggest and most powerful TV show, I felt it was an important time to collaborate with Nigel once again to help redefine American Idol and take us through to the next incarnation of the show.”
The season 10 judges have not yet been revealed, but Nigel has expressed his desire to bring Paula Abdul back to the judging panel. Lythgoe told Daily Variety that despite her commitment to headline a new dancing show on CBS, he’d love to get Abdul back in the “Idol” fold. “I still love Paula,” he said. “She’s signed to CBS, probably exclusively, but I’d recommend we have her in a heartbeat.”
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation (which owns Fox), spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about American Idol and promised that the show would be better next season.
“All I can assure you is that next year’s ‘Idol’ will be different,” Murdoch said. “It will be better, the music will certainly be better. And we got great expectations for it.” As for the eagerly anticipated announcement of the new judging panel, Murdoch was mum, promising only that, “We are very close to announcing who the judges will be. … There are very active negotiations with a number of people.”