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Nigel Lythgoe on Paula Abdul Leaving 'American Idol'

ETonline, Friday, July 24, 2009, 11:25am (PDT)
  • Former "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe spoke to ET at the 100th episode party for "So You Think You Can Dance" about the possibility of Paula Abdul exiting the hit FOX series.

    "I don't think we should give up yet," he tells ET. "Negotiations are a game. You want this; I want to give you that. You know what you will take at the end of the day. I know how far I can go. It is the same as buying a house, you just keep bantering away. At the end of the day, I think it is fair to say 'American Idol' needs Paula Abdul and Paula Abdul needs 'American Idol.' They sit very comfortably together. Neither one should feel that they have been pushed too far."

    Nigel goes on to say that he believes that the format of "American Idol" is stronger than anybody, be it a producer, a judge or a competitor. The show has been successful all over the world, including those countries where Simon Cowell is not a on the air.

    "But when you get Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson together, they are an historic phenomenon," he adds. "Whenever 'American Idol' is mentioned, they will be named. Whenever anybody talks about game-changing shows … this show took FOX [out of] fourth place. When you look at that, that is how important Paula Abdul is in that whole matrix of the phenomenon. I hope they won't lose her."

    Nigel also was basking in the success of "So You Think You Can Dance," which featured a song-and-dance performance by Katie Holmes on last night's 100th show celebration.

    Katie, Nigel and "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba and director and choreographer Adam Shankman to create the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which strives to provide assistance to talented, underprivileged youth to help them realize their dreams of becoming professional dancers, and create awareness about the positive impact that dance can have on the growth and development of the nation's youth.

    "We have lofty ambitions," Nigel says. "Initially we are going to give scholarships to students who are recommended by the schools that we are giving the scholarships to. We are going to make sure that they have enough money for their training every year."

    He says they hope to expand their program to include school accreditations and more.

    "So You Think You Can Dance" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX.

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