'American Idol' report: Nigel Lythgoe locked in as executive producer [Updated]

nigel-lythgoe-getty.jpgUPDATE 11:55 a.m. Aug. 5: FOX has made its official announcement of Lythgoe's return.

"'American Idol' became a juggernaut of epic proportions, but to me it was always like home," Lythgoe says in a statement. "I am elated and honored to be rejoining childhood friend and fellow executive producer Ken Warwick and look forward to creating more magic."

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One more piece of the "American Idol" puzzle for next season is apparently in place: Producer Nigel Lythgoe has sealed a deal to return to the show.

Lythgoe, who was an executive producer of FOX's top-rated series for its first seven seasons, will return to "Idol" in the coming season. That's according to the Los Angeles Times, which cites two sources close to the show who say he's returning to executive produce "Idol" with Ken Warwick. The LAT report follows a TMZ bulletin last week saying Lythgoe would return.

A rep for "Idol" producer 19 Entertainment had no comment; Zap2it has also contacted FOX but hadn't received a response as of this posting.

Lythgoe is also an executive producer and judge on "So You Think You Can Dance," and he left "Idol" after the 2008 season in part to concentrate on that show.

Rumors and reports about big changes on "Idol" have swirled ever since judge/face of the show Simon Cowell's departure. One shoe dropped when FOX announced last week that Ellen DeGeneres was leaving the show after one season as a judge. FOX execs told a roomful of reporters Monday (Aug. 2) that no deals were signed for next season, then declined to answer questions about possible scenarios, including Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler becoming judges.

Mass auditions for Season 10 of "Idol" have already begun; taping with the judges -- whomever they might be -- is set to begin in September.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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