And the Idol updates keep on coming. This weekend, we learned that American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were cut from the series after twelve seasons. Today comes a more formal statement from Lythgoe, along with official word from FremantleMedia that they have hired a new executive producer.

FremantleMedia announced today that they are bringing in Per Blankens, the executive producer of the Swedish version of the series, Idol, to executive produce American Idol four Season 13, which is set to premiere on Fox next January (2014). Blankens has been the showrunner on the Swedish singing competition for five seasons, and from what American Idol EP Trish Kinane says, he's extremely passionate about the series. Blankens expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of taking on the U.S. version of the series.
"The Idol franchise is a worldwide phenomenon and I'm honored to be a part of the most popular of the franchises, AMERICAN IDOL,” said Blankens. “I can't wait to get started as auditions for the new season are just a few weeks away.”

Not being all that familiar with the Swedish Idol, it's hard to say if there's anything particularly different about the format of the show by comparison to the Fox series. From its Wiki page, it looks like the format has been more or less the same as it is for American Idol, though the site does say in Season 6 they added a rule that had the Bottom 2 singers singing after the results were announced, and the public re-voted to determine which of the two was eliminated. That sounds like a different take on the "Save" that's used (or not used, in the case of Season 12) in American Idol. Of course, Fremantle's choice to bring in Blankens may be less about the Swedish Idol format and more about Blankens' experience working on the show and how American Idol might benefit from it.

While Fremantle was announcing word of Blankens joining the series, we also received the full, official statement from Nigel Lythgoe - not to be confused with his Tweet-statement, which he shared this weekend when announcing that he was fired. Not only is this one quite a bit wordier, but it's also a lot more positive, noting his and the series numerous accomplishments during Idol's 12-season run. Here's what Lythgoe had to say:
“It has been a tremendous honor to launch and build “American Idol” over the course of a decade and to see it recognized with 51 nominations and 6 EMMY Awards including the Academy's highest honor, the Governors Award. To be a part of the spin-off program, "IDOL GIVES BACK" was incredible. As well as raising nearly $200 million for various charities it was a personal life-changing experience for me. It also provided me with the opportunity to produce and direct a magical sequence with Celine Dion together with Elvis Presley. This continues to be one of the highlights of my entire career.

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. 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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