Per Blankens: 'American Idol' gets new executive producer

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One of the makers of "American Idol," FremantleMedia North America, has announced a new executive producer after reports that two longtime producers of the singing competition, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, had been dismissed.

The new producer, Per Blankens, spent five years at the helm of the Swedish version of "Idol." He will be among the people charged with reviving the American version on Fox, which has suffered in the ratings, as shows as old as "Idol" tend to do. The 13th season is scheduled to make its debut in January.

Trish Kinane, a FremantleMedia executive, said she was "very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping ‘Idol' creatively vibrant."

Lythgoe, who will keep producing "So You Think You Can Dance" for the network, said on Twitter that he had been fired. He followed up Monday with a statement that read in part, "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."

-- The New York Times


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