'American Idol': FOX and Nigel Lythgoe confirm executive producers' exit [Updated]

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UPDATE 1:45 p.m. June 10: Lythgoe has released an official statement, which reads in part:

Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global  phenomenon. 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.
The original post:

It's official: "American Idol" executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick are leaving the show before Season 13. Both Lythgoe and FOX have confirmed that there will be a change in leadership after a season of low ratings.

The statement from FOX focuses on thanking Lythgoe and Warwick for the 12 seasons already completed and says nothing about what led to the change in power at the top:

"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."

While this doesn't give too much news, even Nigel Lythgoe wasn't too forthcoming about reasons. He did, however, confirm the news of his firing via Twitter on Saturday (June 8):

"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."

The Top 20 referred to for Monday are on Lythgoe's other show, "So You Think You Can Dance," which also airs on FOX. Unlike "Idol," "SYTYCD" retains its lead producer and judge:

"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."

At least it does seem like there is no major grudge-holding going on between Lythgoe and the network. Who will be the replacement for Lythgoe and Warwick? ( UPDATE: This guy.) And how will that person (or those people) manage to save "American Idol" from its continuing ratings plummet?

That news is still to come from FOX.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images