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August 6, 2008
'Idol' producer moving on

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I must have missed this bit of TV news, but it seems "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe (pictured) is exiting stage right from the singing competition he and Ken Warwick, the show's other producer, have worked on for seven seasons.

According to the Associated Press, Lythgoe is putting together a deal with "Idol" creator Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment. That could be anything from another reality show to movies to, well, anything Lythgoe's British heart desires.

I've covered the singing fest for three seasons now and, while this year's series averaged about 28.4 million views per show, per week, the ratings have dipped - perhaps as "Idol's" loyal audience ages.

However, viewership for May's "Battle of the Davids" finale was the second-highest for the show in five years.

Lythgoe, who often was seen smiling in the "Idol" audience (while Jeff Archuleta - David's dad - growled at him), has taken on other projects, including the popular "So You Think You Can Dance?" competition, which he produces and helps judge.

Many "Idol" fans have told me that they expect a shakeup in how the show unfolds for Season 8 next January. Maybe a different take on the audition process, a different format for Hollywood Week - who knows?

As we chat, auditions are under way with the next round taking place Friday in Kansas City, Mo. (I'd love to know what Simon, Paula and Randy think of Lythgoe's departure.) Also, no tips on whether anyone local made it through the first audition last month in San Francisco.

No doubt Fox is disappointed Lythgoe is leaving, but it still remains a mystery what role Warwick will play in "Idol," if any. The AP quotes 19 Entertainment spokesman Eric Green as saying the producers for next season have yet to be decided.

As for me, I'll get through the fall TV season with another installment of "Dancing With the Stars." (Is there any validity to the rumor that Florence Henderson, aka Carol Brady, will be attempting the samba?)


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