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Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
New job for 'Nasty Nigel'
Nigel Lythgoe with fellow judge Paul Adam
Nigel Lythgoe (right) became a cult figure on Popstars
Nigel Lythgoe, the man who helped pick out the Popstars group, is to leave his job at London Weekend Television.

Mr Lythgoe, who is head of entertainment at LWT, is joining 19 TV, run by the former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller.

Popstars Hear'Say
Popstars group Hear'Say have a number one single
Mr Lythgoe's brief will include overseeing the Popstars follow-up, Pop Idol, which follows the search for a solo pop star.

Mr Lythgoe is currently on secondment to production company Planet 24 which is making the UK version of the American reality TV show, Survivor.

The media executive is currently in Borneo for the ITV project.

'Great respect'

Mr Lythgoe, who is expected to join 19 TV in June, said: "I'm really looking forward to joining the 19 Group.

Nigel Lythgoe was top of my list

Simon Fuller

"Through the years I've developed a great respect for Simon Fuller and this was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down.

"It will be sad to leave LWT having enjoyed a number of years working with some wonderful colleagues, successful shows and hugely talented artists."

Mr Fuller said: "19 TV is expanding fast and I wanted someone with talent and experience to oversee this growth.

"Nigel Lythgoe was top of my list and I am absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to join 19."

Mr Lythgoe will be reunited at 19 TV with Nicki Chapman, one of his fellow Popstars judges.

'New opportunity'

A spokeswoman for LWT told BBC News Online: "Nigel has been with us for more than 10 years and he wants new challenges and the new opportunity will give him a stake in the company.

Popstars did make him attractive to other people in the industry

LWT spokeswoman
"Popstars was his swan song."

Mr Lythgoe has worked at LWT for more than a decade, overseeing programmes such as Blind Date and Gladiators and the successful An Audience With... series of programmes.

He became a cult figure during the broadcast of Popstars, for his often acerbic comments, leading him to be dubbed "Nasty Nigel" by tabloid newspapers.

Lythgoe (back) in Young Generation in 1971
The spokeswoman denied that the success of Popstars had rebounded on LWT.

"His leaving is not connected to the success of Popstars but it did make him attractive to other people in the industry."

Lythgoe has worked in the television industry for over three decades, beginning as a dancer with the BBC's Young Generation dance troupe in the early 1970s.

See also:

27 Mar 01 | Wales
Stereophonics attack TV popstar
26 Mar 01 | Reviews
Hear'Say play it safe
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