Former exec. producer to return in same role

Nigel Lythgoe has officially returned as executive producer of “American Idol.”

Deal was finalized Wednesday, which means Lythgoe is now set to once again help run the show along side fellow EPs Simon Fuller, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick.

Lythgoe served as an exec producer on “Idol” for its first seven seasons, but wasn’t replaced after departing at the start of season eight. He returns in time to help “Idol” make its final decision on a new “Idol” panel – replacing Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, and perhaps Kara DioGuardi as well.

Lythgoe also returns as “Idol” celebrates its 10th season on the air.

Lythgoe co-founded Big Red 2 Ent. along with Simon Fuller and CKX. Lythgoe is also the co-creator and exec producer on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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