Nigel Lythgoe: Talks 'ongoing' for 'Idol' judge

'Idol' producer stays mum on who's in the running

Neither jet lag nor champagne were of much use in teasing out any "Idol" intrigue from the recently reinstated exec producer Nigel Lythgoe, who was hosting his first-ever Bafta Tea Party Saturday afternoon as chairman of the organization's Los Angeles chapter.

All smiles despite just flying in from London and being up at 4:30 a.m. to watch British soccer team Arsenal kick off a match and to eat some shepherd's pie, Lythgoe would only say "negotiations are still ongoing" for the next judge on the Fox singing competition.

Lythgoe wouldn't be drawn in on the crucial question of who the negotiations were with -- Steve Tyler, Jennifer Lopez or whomever else.

"The candidates for judges — they have other commitments."

As for why he himself wouldn't consider a judge's chair on the Fox juggernaut: "It would seem like we were trying to replace Simon and that wouldn't work." (Lythgoe is a regular judge on the show he created, "So You Think You Can Dance.")

The emphasis with regards to "American Idol," Lythgoe went on to say, really should be on the singing talent. "That's what ultimately makes the show strong."

"Idol" is once again up for an outstanding reality-competition program Emmy, but would have to wrest the award from seven-time winner "The Amazing Race," among other contenders, to collect the prize.
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