by Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
The overhaul continues at American Idol.
Longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick are out at the Fox singing competition after a season that saw a 20% drop in ratings and complaints about a lack of chemistry among the judges.
Lythgoe announced his firing Saturday via Twitter and Fox confirmed the departures.
"The passion and dedication that Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick brought to American Idol guided the show to become a true cultural phenomenon," the network said in a statement. "While we are saddened they will no longer be executive producers on the show, we are grateful for their tremendous contributions and look forward to continuing to work with them on additional projects."
Lythgoe had tweeted: "Just had 10 days in the Bahamas, rain everyday. I get back to the States and get fired. Sad!"
He reassured followers that he will remain on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, where he is a judge and executive producer. "Fox still loves me," he tweeted. "It's not a personal thing they just feel Idol needs new leadership after 12 Seasons."
Lythgoe and Warwick are just the latest departures. Randy Jackson, the last remaining original Idol judge, said he was leaving late in the season, and first-year judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj announced their departures late last month. The future status of another freshman judge, Keith Urban, remains uncertain.
Behind the scenes, longtime Fox reality chief Mike Darnell exited after the Idol season ended in May. The network last week brought on David Hill, a veteran executive at Fox parent News Corp., to oversee Idol and Fox's other singing competition, The X Factor, although the network is still looking for someone to fill Darnell's spot as head of alternative programming.
Lythgoe and Warwick were with the show when it launched in 2002. Warwick has been with Idol for its entire run and Lythgoe has been with the show for all but two seasons.
The two produced Idol as it became a cultural phenomenon, turning judge Simon Cowell into a household name, making stars out of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and drawing more than 30 million viewers a season in its biggest years.
During the recently completed 12th season, Idol saw its audience drop more than 20% for the second year in a row, averaging less than half what it drew at its peak. During the season, talk often focused on friction between Carey and Minaj.
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