Why Is Nigel Lythgoe Leaving ‘American Idol’?

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Yesterday, Nigel Lythgoe, the venerable executive producer of American Idol, announced he's leaving his position at the modestly popular singing show to focus on So You Think You Can Dance, on which he's a judge, along with a new joint venture with Idol creator Simon Fuller. And while we'll concede that pretty much any show the guy works on is probably guaranteed massive success, we have to ask why he'd give up his job at Idol, which, at this point, has to be one of the easiest, most lucrative ones in television.

Sure, the ratings are down a bit, but it's still by far the highest-rated thing on TV. And given the fact that nobody really seems to be watching any television anymore, much less any new shows, isn't this a weird time to be wading into untested waters? Other Idol producers are currently considering ways in which to tweak Idol for next year — was he not pleased with the creative direction? Exhausted from battling Jeff Archuleta? Terrified by the prospect of having to listen to a bunch of David Cook wannabes at upcoming auditions? Whatever his motive, this probably doesn't bode well for a non-crappy eighth season.

Nigel Lythgoe leaving 'American Idol' [Variety]