2010 Entertainer of the Year
Executive Producer & Judge
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE
Original Executive Producer
Mr. Lythgoe received this award during our 29th Annual National Finals Gala on July 10, 2010 at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel at Seaworld
Nigel Lythgoe is the co-founder and president of Big Red 2 Entertainment, a newly formed company with CEO of 19 Entertainment, Simon Fuller. Lythgoe most recently served as president of 19 Television, and prior to his tenure there, worked at London Weekend Television, where he was Controller of Entertainment and Comedy.
Born in 1949, Mr. Lythgoe developed an interest in dance at an early age. His first professional job was with the Corps de Ballet, and he later went on to choreograph the BBC’s Young Generation dance troupe for more than 500 shows. He became the only person to dance in, choreograph, direct, and produce the Royal Variety Performance for Her Majesty the Queen of England.
He has worked with stars such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Shirley Bassey and, most prestigiously, the Muppets, and as Head of Entertainment and Comedy for the U.K.’s London Weekend Television, he commissioned and produced hit shows such as “Gladiators” and “Blind Date.”
In 2000 Mr. Lythgoe earned himself the nickname “Nasty Nigel” as a judge on hit show “Popstars” before leaving for Bob Geldof's television company “Planet 24,” where he was executive producer and director of the U.K. version of “Survivor.” Additionally, he developed and produced the TV phenomenon “Pop Idol.”
He has been a driving force in the world of performing arts as co-creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning series “So You Think You Can Dance” — which has won numerous Emmy Awards (including two in 2009, for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Costumes for a Variety/Music Program or a Special) — as well as NBC’s “Superstars of Dance” and Fox’s “Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special.” He also executive produced seven seasons of the TV juggernaut “American Idol,” which has been nominated for more than 40 Emmy Awards, and “Idol Gives Back,” which raised more than $140 million for charity and in 2007 received the prestigious Governors Award, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ highest honor. Lythgoe also served as producer and director of the acclaimed Celine Dion/Elvis Presley duet featured in the special. Additionally, in 2010, he took “So You Think You Can Dance” to the U.K., where he is reprising his role as judge.
In the summer of 2009, the U.K.’s University of Bedfordshire awarded Lythgoe with an honorary Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts in television.
Lythgoe, along with director Adam Shankman, “Dancing with the Stars” judge CarrieAnn Inaba and actress Katie Holmes, recently founded the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and assistance to talented, underserved youth to help them realize their dreams of becoming professional dancers and is working to elevate and standardize dance instruction nationwide.