Ryan Seacrest Is No. 1 on THR's Reality Power List
“A performer is someone with that magic quality — the ‘X factor,’ as Simon Cowell calls it — and whether that person is an actor, singer, dancer or even a politician, the magnetism pulls you in.” Such is the ruling philosophy behind every decision Lythgoe has made, from his days as judge “Nasty Nigel” on the U.K. show Popstars (the prototype for American Idol) to a decade-long run as executive producer on Fox’s Idol (he took a two-year break from 2008-10) and So You Think You Can Dance, which he credits with having “raised the standard of dance in this country.” For his latest talent competition, the L.A.-based Briton, along with his showrunner son Simon, will take on true Americana with this month’s CMT’s Next Superstar. “Country music brings drama and humor to its lyrics,” the elder Lythgoe explains of the show’s songwriting component. He’ll also make dreams come true with the CBS game show pilot Secret Fortune. But while his name is synonymous with the live-competition concept, Lythgoe doesn’t fancy himself a “reality TV” power player. “You turn a camera on anyone, reality flies out the window and everybody becomes a performer,” he says.