Zap2it: Have you ever made a bad show?
Nigel Lythgoe: I made a show called “Ice Warriors.” It was “American Gladiators” on ice. It was so bad I didn’t have ice in my whiskey for three months. I couldn’t go near it.
Zap2it: How did “American Idol” lead to “So You Think You Can Dance”?
Nigel Lythgoe: There was not one dance program on any network, anywhere. My belief was if it is not there, no one wants it. Simon Fuller’s belief was if it’s not there, we should do it. He’s the billionaire. I’m the poor boy from Liverpool.
Zap2it: What do dancers do that continues to surprise you?
Nigel Lythgoe: New styles. Animation was shockingly brilliant. I thought the fact that these kids have no formal training continues to help them.
Zap2it: What changes would you like to see in dance?
Nigel Lythgoe: To sort of bring ballet from the elite position. Every company needs to do this. It has been very white and very elite.
Zap2it: How many dancers do you see at once?
Nigel Lythgoe: About 350 to 400 in a sitting, so about 2,000 all told.
Zap2it: Are you strict about age limits?
Nigel Lythgoe: The rules are 18 to 30. I don’t want the Dance Moms. Abby Lee Miller will not be judging. We have to keep the integrity.
Zap2it: Last year, you danced, plans to do so again?
Nigel Lythgoe: I did last year, with Mary. I did a tap routine about four years ago. I totally lost the ability to be taught.