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Simon Cowell weighs-in on Nigel Lythgoe's 'American Idol' departure


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/25/2008 

Simon Cowell apparently isn't too concerned about the impact American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe's exit will have on the show and added it could lead to his own involement increasing.

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"I think with Nigel there it became too much of a crowd, and he's a very good producer. But I think now he's stepped down, then I probably will get more involved," Cowell told reporters during a Friday conference call to promote this week's post-Olympics return of his America's Got Talent series on NBC.

Lythgoe announced earlier this month that he would "step back from [his] day-to-day producing work on American Idol" after previously serving in that role for the show's first seven seasons. 

While Cowell said he does plan on getting "more involved this year," he's unsure if Lythgoe's departure means he'll end up taking on a formal executive producer role.

"I don't like to give myself a title really," he explained. "I feel uncomfortable if I'm on the show."

Cowell said he recently met with Idol's main production team and some Fox representatives to discuss some format tweaks.

"In particular the middle stages and the end stages, as to what we think we can do to improve it," Cowell told reporters.

"I'd like to see the middle stages of the show change because I think we can make them better. I think we can make the end part of the show much more exciting than we've done before.  We've got some ideas which are definitely going to give the show a little bit more jeopardy than we've had in the past.  You're definitely, definitely going to see a change for the show and I think it will be an improvement. I feel confident."

Despite Cowell stating that Idol "feels like it's going to be a different show this year" due to Lythgoe's departure, he's also unsure how fans will react.

"You must never depend on one person, and I don't think we would've had the success initially without Nigel," said Cowell.  "We'll see whether that's an advantage or a negative."

Cowell also admitted he "started to get bored" with Idol's seventh season earlier this year.

"We had 24 [semifinalists]. By the time we hit say show five of the live show, I felt that I'd known them for years. I did," explained Cowell.  "And the other problem was they were so media savvy, these contestants, that they never showed us or you their true personality. I mean, in parts they were like robots."

To counteract that, Cowell said the show's eighth season will make a concerted effort to "put people on the show that have personality."

"I think that it could be just more interesting and controversial than we did last year," he said.

(Photo credit Fox)


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