Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed that he has been fired as executive producer for American Idol. In an official statement, Lythgoe said, "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."
Lythgoe also talked about the feeling of accomplishment that came from being a part of the show's many charitable works, saying, "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."
Continuing, Lythgoe spoke about the various opportunities he's had thanks to working on the show. "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."
As Lythgoe talked about leaving American Idol, he pointed out that it will give him the chance to focus on other projects, including So You Think You Can Dance.
"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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