“American Idol” has named a new executive producer for Season 13 of the reality singing competition. Per Blankens will take over from Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick when the show returns in January 2014.
Blankens may not be a big name in American television yet, but he is one of the most successful producer of competition shows in Europe. He has been in charge of the Swedish version of “Idol” for several seasons and also runs Scandinavian versions of other reality properties like “MasterChef” and “The Biggest Loser.”
Unlike “American Idol,” which saw ratings plummet in its most recent seasons, the show’s Swedish counterpart was a major hit under Blankens, pulling in an average of 51 percent of the country’s viewers.
“Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the show runner on the blockbuster ‘Swedish Idol’ for more than 5 seasons,” said Trish Kinane, the “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.”
Blankens added, “The ‘Idol’ franchise is a worldwide phenomenon and I’m honored to be a part of the most popular of the franchises, ‘American Idol.’ I can’t wait to get started as auditions for the new season are just a few weeks away.”