Swedish TV producer Per Blankens will replace Nigel Lythgoe as executive producer of American Idol next season, Idol producer FremantleMedia announced Monday.
Blankens has acted as showrunner on Sweden's version of the reality singing competition for five seasons. "He is extremely passionate about Idol and I'm very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping Idol creatively vibrant," Trish Kinane, an Idol executive producer for Fremantle, said in a statement. "He brings the talent and energy needed to keep American Idol strong."
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In addition to Idol, Blankens also oversaw production on the Swedish versions of Master Chef and The Biggest Loser.
Lythgoe on Monday also issued a statement addressing his departure from the show. "Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global phenomenon," the statement reads in part. "It has been inspiring to find and launch the careers of artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips and many more, spanning all musical styles and genres. I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues."
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Added Lythgoe: "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."
Auditions for American Idol's 13th season, which premieres in January, begin next month.