Page last updated at 03:15 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

Nigel Lythgoe to contact Jonathan Ross about US TV work

By Colin Paterson
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Jonathan Ross and Nigel Lythgoe
Ross and Lythgoe used to work together

American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, who was involved in Jonathan Ross's early career, says he plans to contact him about opportunities in the US.

The pair worked together while Lythgoe was controller of London Weekend Television entertainment in 1995.

Ross announced on Thursday that he was leaving the BBC after 13 years.

But Lythgoe, who is a judge on BBC One reality show So You Think You Can Dance, added: "I don't know if he wants to go and crack new territories."

Scapegoat

Ross, 49, was the BBC's highest paid star. On Thursday, he issued a statement saying he had decided not to renegotiate his contract when it ends in July.

He added that the decision was not "financially motivated".

Lythgoe, known to overseas audiences as a judge on the US version of So You Think You Can Dance, said he thought Ross would be able to find work "anywhere that he likes".

I think he's smart, quick witted and very, very talented. I would have thought he just wants some time out.
Nigel Lythgoe

"I would have thought that quite a few stations would want him to go and join them," he told the BBC.

"It isn't now about money, it is just about enjoying himself and doing what he wants to do.

Lythgoe - christened "Nasty" Nigel after his appearance on ITV reality series Popstars - said he planned to get in touch with Ross, although he was unsure whether the broadcaster would be interested in leaving the UK.

"He loves his home, he loves his children, he adores his wife and I would have thought he would like to remain here," he said.

"I think he's smart, quick witted and very, very talented. I would have thought he just wants some time out."

'Scapegoat'

Ross was suspended for three months by the BBC in 2008, after he made lewd phone calls to veteran actor Andrew Sachs during a pre-recorded radio show on Radio 2.

However, Lythgoe claimed Ross had been made a scapegoat by some media outlets and used as a "stick that keeps beating up the BBC".

"It must start to annoy you as you might start to think, 'why can't we just move on?'"

On Saturday, in his first broadcast since announcing his departure, Ross told BBC Radio 2 listeners it was "lovely to be back".

"There's nothing worth talking about in the papers," he added, "so let's get on with the show".



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