19 Entertainment, which produces Idol and the just renewed So You Think You Can Dance for Fox, released a statement confirming that Lythgoe will step back after reports surfaced on celebrity-gossip site TMZ.com.
"Due to the huge success of So You Think You Can Dance, my summer will be taken up by travels to South Africa, Australia and Canada to work on local versions of the show," Lythgoe said in the statement. "I will step back from my day-to-day producing work on American Idol and will be devoting my time to a new venture with Simon Fuller."
The company also denied “online rumors” that Lythgoe will be leaving 19, which he joined in 2001 after partnering with Fuller to launch Idol’s British precursor, Pop Idol.
“We congratulate Nigel on the proposed joint venture he is developing with Simon Fuller,” Fox said in a statement. “He is an extraordinarily talented producer whose creative contributions to the No. 1 show on television have been immeasurable. While we are disappointed that he will no longer be executive-producing American Idol, we are pleased to continue working with him on So You Think You Can Dance and look forward to working with him on his new projects.”