Nigel Lythgoe returns to ‘American Idol’ as executive producer

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After a two-year break from running ‘American Idol,’ Nigel Lythgoe is officially returning to the talent show that he helped make a hit. Lythgoe, who also is a judge and executive producer on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ will run the show with executive producer Ken Warwick, according to two sources close to the show.

Lythgoe, who was not available for comment Wednesday, left ‘American Idol’in 2008, in part to dedicate himself to running his dance show. But sources at the time said that friction with Simon Cowell behind the scenes was the primary reason for his departure.


Lythgoe, who criticized Fox’s decision to let Paula Abdul leave the show, has said publicly that he would revamp the aging show by changing the judging panel. To that end, Ellen DeGeneres has announced she will not return and Kara DioGuardi has reportedly been fired.

Sources have told The Times that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have deals ‘in principle’ to become judges on the show. Fox has declined comment on those additions to the show.

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