Nigel Lythgoe Confirms American Idol Departure, Exits "Great Ride"

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It didn't receive the same fanfare as Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson leaving - but Nigel Lythgoe was removed as producer of American Idol last week.

And as the Fox competition looks to regain its ratings foothold, Lythgoe has come out with a statement confirming his departure.

American Idol Standing O

“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," Lythgoe said.

He went on to acknowledge the fundraising success of Idol Gives Back (nearly $200 million for various charities) and also recognized the "magical sequence" of Celine Dion singing with Elvis as a career highlight.

"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," Lythgoe continued.

"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."

Nigel, of course, isn't going away for good. He's still the man behind So You Think You Can Dance and will continue to make programs under Nigel Lythgoe Productions.

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