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'American Idol' loses top producer Nigel Lythgoe

"American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.

"American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. (Credit: Getty Images, 2011)

Nigel Lythgoe -- who came (back) to "American Idol" after Simon Cowell left to produce what then seemed an impregnable franchise -- on Saturday confirmed that he had been fired. Via Twitter:  

just had 10 days in the Bahamas, rain everyday. I get back to the States and get fired. Sad! Monday we choose our top 20. I'll smile again.

By "top 20," he is referring to "So You Think You Can Dance," which he continues to produce.

Lythgoe leaves a show that is no longer impregnable, but very much the opposite. Three judges have left -- also fired, doubtless, or taking their leave before the sheriff -- while Fox and Fremantle have also hired a new overseer of the show, David Hill. It's now one of those all-bets-are-off moments for the show, when anything can happen, and anything likely will. [See: Per Blankens named Idol" producer.]

 Meanwhile, Nigel sent out a longer statement early Monday afternoon. Here it is, in part:

"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. 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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