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Nigel Lythgoe ‘truly saddened’ to leave ‘American Idol’

Nigel Lythgoe (13227)
Nigel Lythgoe

The exodus from “American Idol” isn’t over yet.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who’s been with the series since its beginning, has been let go from the program, Lythgoe confirmed on Twitter and in a statement to CNN.

“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,” Lythgoe said Monday. “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. It has been a great ride and I’ve loved every moment of it.”

Lythgoe’s remarks follow intense speculation last week that he, along with EP Ken Warwick, weren’t going to return for the reality competition’s 13th season.

“It has been a tremendous honor to launch and build ‘American Idol’ over the course of a decade,” Lythgoe said. “After dedicating over 12 years to ‘Idol,’ I look forward to continuing work on my beloved ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ which is going strong in its 10th season. In addition, this will allow me more time to devote to Nigel Lythgoe Productions and our exciting new partnership with Shine America.”

“Idol” isn’t just bleeding producers, but judges as well. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson have all left the program.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.