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.
Fox confirms what Nigel Lythgoe revealed during the dance competition’s live season finale: The network has greenlighted an 11th go-round for So You Think You Can Dance. Last week’s final performance show drew a 1.3/4 among adults 18-49, even with the previous week’s show but a slight 2% improvement in viewers to 4.1 million watching. Paula Abdul was among the guest judges last week, reprising the role she played earlier this summer.
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.”
UPDATE: Veteran American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe tweeted the news of his dismissal today. He’s departing Fox’s long-running competition show, heading into its 13th season, but will stay aboard the network’s dance program So You Think You Can Dance, which he co-created, exec produces and serves as judge on. ” Just had 10 days in the Bahamas, rain everyday,” he Tweeted. ” I get back to the States and get fired. Sad! Monday we choose our top 20. I’ll smile again… Yes, don’t worry I’m on #SYTYCD. FOX still loves me. It’s not a personal thing they just feel IDOL needs new leadership after 12 Seasons.”
In response, Fox released a statement addressing both Lythgoe and fellow long-time Idol executive producer Ken Warwick’s exits. “The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to American Idol guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon. While we are saddened they will no longer be executive producers on the show, we are grateful for their tremendous contributions and look forward to continuing to work with them on additional projects.”
The departures come just a couple of days Fox brought in veteran News Corp. executives David Hill to oversee Idol and The X Factor.
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.”
Fox announced today that So You Think You Can Dance is coming back for a 10th season. “I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing work that Nigel and the entire So You Think You Can Dance team has done over the past nine seasons. This show is truly one of the most compelling series on television and I can’t wait to bring it back for Season 10,” Fox’s President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell said in a statement today. Created by Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe, SYTYCD is produced by 19 Entertainment. The series is executive produced by Fuller, Lythgoe and Allen Shapiro. Fox also announced that the Emmy-winning SYTYCD would begin auditions for Season 10 in Austin on January 18. It will then move to Detroit on February 11, Boston on February 21, Memphis on March 14 and LA’s downtown Orpheum Theatre on March 22.
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.
MGM Television has teamed with American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance executive producer Nigel Lythgoe for Fame, a scripted series based on the 1980 MGM film and 1982 MGM TV series that chronicled the lives of talented students paying their dues on the road to success. Lythgoe will serve as executive producer on the project, along with Nigel Lythgoe Prods. president Kary McHoul, Segars Media’s Charles Segars (National Treasure) and Chad Gutstein. According to the producers, the new project is a re-imagening of the original film and series that will strive to embody their spirit. Set against the backdrop of today’s unprecedented access to the world of celebrity, it will expose the gritty struggle, heartache and pain endured in the search for stardom. “This is a great opportunity for MGM to partner with world-class producer Nigel Lythgoe, whose unmatched experience with telling the true stories of talented people striving for success will set Fame apart, ” said Roma Khanna, President Television and Digital, MGM. The project is part of MGM TV’s strategy to mine the company’s library for properties suitable for series adaptations/remakes. Alan Parker’s 1980 movie was already remade as a feature with the 2009 Fame.
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 of.” Variety, drama, comedy and reality TV all came together on the Produced By Conference’s Mega-Producers panel moderated by CAA TV agent Rob Kenneally. Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes, Cougar Town’s Bill Lawrence and Jersey Shore’s SallyAnn Salsano joined Lythgoe. Although their genres differ, each member of the panel seemed to have pretty much the same approach to their job. “You are putting out fires every day,” said Rhimes. “I guarantee you that everyone up here has failed more than you can imagine,” Lawrence pointed out. “I think we all have a fear of failure,” Salsano confessed. “Success or failure,” lamented Lythgoe, “you’re always fighting.”
The fear factor aside, the panel also agreed organization was crucial to running the multiple shows each runs. “It’s all about being organized,” said Rhimes. “Wherever I am, that’s where I am going to be.” Salsano echoed the organization sentiment but said reality …
E! Picks Up Nigel Lythgoe & Kevin Jonas Reality Series, Whitney Cummings Talk Show, Unveils New Logo, Tagline & Branding
UPDATED: E!, which is holding its upfront presentation today, has picked up Opening Act, a new talent competition headlined by American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, R&B singer Mary J. Blige and producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia. Additionally, the cable network has greenlighted a reality series starring Kevin Jonas for summer and has given the long-gestating Whitney Cummings talk show a pickup as a weekly half-hour series titled Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings. E! also is unveiling a new look, logo and tagline (Pop Of Culture). The new branding campaign, part of the transformation of the channel under the leadership of NBC Uni cable maven Bonnie Hammer, will kick off on July 9 with the premiere of Opening Act.
In Opening Act, Lythgoe, Blige and Armato will comb the Internet to find talented amateurs and give them a chance to open for an A-list music star. Music acts on board to take in aspiring musicians to open for one show on their current tours are Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes. The unsuspecting band or solo acts will get the news of their big break in person by TV personality Olivia Lee (The Tonight Show With …
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 Lythgoe. Fox confirmed the plan to honor Clark, the longtime host of American Bandstand and the now-Seacrest-hosted New Year’s Rockin’ Eve who died yesterday at age 82. Seacrest made a brief but emotional mention of Clark last night on Idol. “Without Dick, a show like this would not exist,” the host said before noting that the Bandstand host would be the first one to say, “Hey, let’s get on with the show.” — which Idol did. (UPDATE: GSN will also air a tribute to Clark during the network’s broadcasts of the Clark-hosted $25,000 Pyramid during the next several days, and add an hour of Pyramid to its Saturday schedule.)
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 I will have to change the format of SYTYCD,” the show’s co-creator/executive producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe tweeted today. “At least we have another season at the end of May.” The move comes days before SYTYCD‘s first Season 9 auditions, which will be held next week in Atlanta. “I’m certainly not mad at Fox — they have supported SYTYCD for 9 seasons,” Lythgoe wrote. “With the help of (Fox’s head of alternative) Mike Darnell I think we have some great new ideas.” SYTYCD, whose most recent eight season was down in the ratings from Season 7, will not be the first competition show to air once a week. Most recently, NBC’s The Voice started off that way before expanding to two nights following its early success.
Not than anyone has any doubts that Jennifer Lopez will return to Fox’s American Idol next season, but the show’s executive producer Nigel Lythgoe today became the first person associated with Idol to confirm her return on the record. “I believe we’re still waiting for the official announcement, but I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of American Idol, is back for the next season,” Lythgoe said on Idol host Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this morning. That official announcement is yet to come because Lopez’s deal is still being finalized. As for her compensation, it is going up, from $12 million to $15 million-$20 million next season.
There’s a lot of secrecy surrounding the event, so the British press thinks prices are sky high. But I’ve learned that Hollywood movie and TV companies are being asked to pay a very normal, even cheap, $25,000 a table for the inaugural “BAFTA Brits To Watch” black-tie dinner at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on July 9 featuring Prince William and his new bride Kate. It’s on the itinerary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to California helping highlight the depth and range of British talent currently emerging in film, television and video games. Prince William was elected BAFTA president last year, and American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is chairman of BAFTA in LA.
2nd Place: “It’s the Ford…American Idol…conga line.”
3rd Place: “Just another day on the set of So You Think You Can Pants.”
PREVIOUS: Here’s a great photo from last night’s American Idol finale, featuring pop star Lady Gaga horsing around with the show’s executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. The backstage picture was apparently taken after Lady Gaga’s performance of Edge of Glory judging by her ripped fishnet stockings, the result of her writhing on that giant rock. And the expression on Lythgoe’s face is if he has just seen a ghost. (Lady Gaga and her male dancer “leaped to their death” at the end of the song.) Can you come up with a good caption?