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Lythgoe Set to Return to 'American Idol'

Former American Idol
executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is close to a new deal to return to the Fox
hit, according to reports.

Lythgoe left the show in 2008 citing his packed schedule with So You Think You Can Dance, where he is
an executive producer as well as a judge. But there was also speculation at the
time of tension between Lythgoe and Simon Cowell.

Cowell has left the show, a major shake-up as the acerbic judge was seen as the
linchpin at the judges' table. Several months before production starts on the
new season, the show has yet to name a replacement for Cowell.

Cowell is leaving to helm X Factor, a
new reality competition series for Fox.

American Idol
is still the top-rated
show on television by far, but it has seen ratings erosion over the last
several seasons. This year's finale was watched by 24.2 million people, down
16% compareded to the year before. Next season, the minimum age for competitors
will be lowered to 15.