CBS is entering the music competition reality series space with In the Spotlight, executive produced by Nigel Lythgoe, the original executive producer of the first big US hit in the genre, Fox’s American Idol. Also executive producing In the Spotlight, which has received a pilot order, is former CBS head of alternative Jennifer Bresnan in her first pilot since leaving her post in the summer. In the Spotlight is based on the Turkish paper format Keep Your Light Shining, which has undergone some changes. CBS wouldn’t reveal details but, according to international Global Agency, which represents the original format, Keep Your Light Shining features 12 contestants on a dark circular stage with a moving spotlight, with them taking turns to sing as the spotlight shines on each of them for 15-20 seconds. Each round, one contestant is eliminated by the audience, with the show also featuring a panel of celebrity judges. Executive producing with Lythgoe and Bresnan are Jeff Collins & Michael Hammond (Dance Moms). CBS’ in-house production company Kalen Productions is producing with Nigel Lythgoe Productions and Collins Avenue Entertainment.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
But at the panel (held on the SYTYCD stage at CBS Television City) he did offer a friendly dig at the dance competition’s network, Fox. Joining the other producers in talking about the longevity of the show, now in its 10th season, Lythgoe dryly lauded the dance show for “providing Fox with over half of its Emmy nominations this year.” (SYTYCD got 7, including a host nom for Cat Deeley).
Lythgoe was also asked to comment on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars‘ plan to reduce its competition shows from two nights to one. “I didn’t know of that,” he said but called it “a shame” that the actual dancing and the announcement of who’s getting axed will now necessarily be on the same program.
“I won’t lie to you. I hate doing the results,” Lythgoe said. He said fans didn’t like hearing the bad news before the dancing on SYTCD so they moved their own announcements to the end of the show. “It’s horrible,” Lythgoe said, adding of DWTS: “I don’t know why they’ve gone to once a week, but I think it’s a shame.”
Lythgoe was also blunt about what makes a winner on SYTCD: personality, not dance technique. “We are an entertainment show. Dance is a very niche market,” he said. “We need to bring as many people to the party as possible.”
Fox Taps Executive Producer Of Swedish ‘Idol’ As New ‘American Idol’ EP; Nigel Lythgoe Says “It Has Been A Great Ride”
UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Nigel Lythgoe just released a statement following Fox’s naming of Per Blankens as his replacement as American Idol‘s new executive producer. In it, Lythgoe called his tenure on Idol “one of the highlights of my entire career” and a “a great ride,” adding that “if the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints.” Read full statement below the Per Blankens announcement.
PREVIOUS: Fox is moving quickly on setting the pieces for an expected overhaul on American Idol following a season that hit all-time lows. After David Hill was put in charge of the show Wednesday, the network officially dismissed longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick over the weekend. And this morning, it set Per Blankens as new executive producer for the upcoming 13th season. Blankens comes from Sweden, where he most recently executive produced the local version of Idol. “Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the showrunner on the blockbuster Swedish Idol for more than 5 seasons,” said Trish Kinane, American Idol executive producer for FremantleMedia North America. “He is extremely passionate about Idol and I’m very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping Idol creatively vibrant.”
American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said tonight he gets “sick to some degree of the (product) integration because (other) people have a different idea of what integration means. For me, it’s a smooth, organic process, whereas for other people, it’s, ‘Hi! This is a Coca-Cola!’ ” Speaking at a BAFTA-sponsored event at the Digital Hollywood conference, Lythgoe described a continual push and pull between show sponsors and producers that can be quite innovative but requires a lot of careful straddling of lines. “Everyone’s trying to use this as a platform,” he said. “They’re trying to stretch things all the time. I want to move those damned Coke cups. Especially when (rookie Idol judge) Nicki Minaj is sponsored by Pepsi. It gets on your nerves sometimes when it’s too obvious. You don’t want product forced on you. So we just have to be careful.”
EXCLUSIVE: Shine America has entered an exclusive, multi-year production partnership with Nigel Lythgoe Prods., the company of the executive producer of American Idol and exec producer/judge of So You Think You Can Dance. Under the pact, which starts January 1, Shine and Lythgoe will develop and produce new series for the global TV marketplace. “Nigel is clearly one of the world’s leading television producers, with an unmatched track record in TV programming both here in the U.S. and in the UK,” said incoming Shine America CEO Rich Ross. Added Elisabeth Murdoch, Chairman of Shine Group, “I have known and admired Nigel for a long time. The creative potential of our partnership is truly staggering and I am more than delighted to be able to be working with him.”
For the past decade, British-born Lythgoe has been based at 19 Entertainment (now CORE Media Group), since the company’s founder/former owner, American Idol creator Simon Fuller, brought him in as TV president in 2001 to help develop the concept for Idol. Last year, Lythgoe launched Nigel Lythgoe Prods. as a joint venture with 19. That joint venture will keep control over the company’s existing series, Opening Act on E! and Chance To Dance on Ovation, as well as all current development, while all future projects will go through Shine. (Shine International will handle international distribution of those future projects). Lythgoe is not severing ties with 19 — he remains executive producer on both American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance for the foreseeable future. His hands-on involvement in the two series has been keeping him busy almost year-round, leaving little time for developing and producing new shows.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Fox’s first TCA panel Monday brought together representatives of So You Think You Can Dance, nominated last week for six Emmys, including Outstanding Reality Competition Program. But both during and after the session, judge Nigel Lythgoe was not surprisingly peppered with questions about his other day job: producing American Idol. Lythgoe was asked to address the current musical chairs involving judges, including the recent departure of Steven Tyler and the probable (at least according to Lythgoe) departure of Jennifer Lopez. “I can’t make any comment about my negotiations”, he said. “What I said to Ryan [host Ryan Seacrest] is, I was really upset about the possibility of Jennifer leaving. She did say 99% percent [sure that she’s leaving], which is a strange thing to say. 99 percent — you’re either leaving or you’re not leaving. I’m hoping that 1% means she may not be leaving.”
“We want the very good and the bad.” That’s what American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said this afternoon is the core of the competition show. “It’s the bland people in the middle we want to get rid …
Ryan Seascrest took to Twitter today to announce that “we’re putting together a tribute for Dick Clark on @AmericanIdol tonight…just talked to @dizzyfeet”. The mentioned @dizzyfeet is the Twitter handle for Idol executive producer Nigel …
The father-son team of Nigel and Simon Lythgoe – producers of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, respectively – have a new dance reality series ready to go. It debuts August 17. The arts programming-focused Ovation sees the show as a way to brand it as a home for original programming to go along with the performance programming that normally fills its lineup.
Shine International, the worldwide distribution arm of Shine Group, has international rights to A Chance To Dance and will be taking it to MIPTV April 1-4 in Cannes, where it hopes to secure international sales.
Santa Monica, CA — March 12, 2012 The announcement was made today that Ovation, the only multi-platform network dedicated to art, artists and all forms of artistic storytelling, has green-lit a new dance competition series from executive producers Nigel and Simon Lythgoe. A co-production between their two respective companies, Nigel Lythgoe Productions (NLP) and Legacy Productions, A CHANCE TO DANCE follows Michael Nunn and William Trevitt — two former Royal Ballet dancers known as “The BalletBoyz,” as they audition, select and train a new American dance company.
‘American Idol’ EP Nigel Lythgoe Defends Slipping Ratings, Rules Out Changes, Takes Swipes At Rivals ‘The Voice’ & ‘X Factor’
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
With American Idol’s ratings down well into double-digits year-to-year this season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe claimed not to be surprised by the drop and even grew somewhat defensive with journalists during a conference call this morning. “You’re asking me how I feel about the 11th season ratings when I originally thought we’d be going off the air after three weeks (of season 1)?” he said. “Let’s be honest about this: We’re constantly compared against ourselves and our own ratings. Of course you’re going to see some sort of deterioration in the numbers.” Lythgoe sees the reason for the slippage as stemming from a combination of factors, chiefly the increased competition and resultant music reality series fatigue. “We’ve got The Voice and X Factor going now, and we’re all feeding from the same talent pool and of course the same ratings pool. …We’d always said we would never two Idols in a single year, and this is why. Now we have X Factor sitting there, and it feels just like Fox is doing two Idols a season. Add to that The Voice and of course there’s going to be viewer fatigue, as much you see when you have too many science fiction dramas or too many hospital dramas on television.” Lythgoe was quick to note that “we’ve still got the No. 1 show on TV in our 11th year. That’s pretty incredible. And after 11 years, I don’t think we should have to be defending ourselves. … Whatever bad press we’re getting about the ratings, I mean, my God the rest of the world would kill for these kinds of ratings.”
Fox’s summer staple So You Think You Can Dance, which was renewed for a ninth season in October, will undergo a format change, scaling down from two shows a week to one. “Fox have canceled the results show so …