Nigel Lythgoe Discusses SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE

During a conference call on Wednesday, Nigel Lythgoe, Executive Producer and Judge of So You Think You Can Dance, answered questions about the hit show which has earned huge ratings during its summer slot the past few years and is now debuting a new season in the much more competitive autumn months.

On the same day, it was announced that Adam Shankman would join Nigel and the Hot-Tamale-Express-screaming Mary Murphy as a permanent judge on the popular dance competition.  When asked how this would impact the revolving-door of beloved guest judges, most of which were also choreographers on the program, Nigel explained, "We will still have an open chair. I still would like Paula Abdul to pop in, I still would like guest judges to pop in when they can. Jennifer Lopez has said how much she loves the program. I would love for her to come in and sit down for a week (as a guest judge). We tried it with Ellen (DeGeneres), it was very successful. I just don’t want four judges every week. So it’s just when available, when possible, they (the other choreographers) will judge."

When asked about the move to the fall right after the conclusion of their successful fifth summer season, Nigel provided some insight on the change.  "FOX wanted So You Think You Can Dance to lead into Glee (the network's much hyped and much anticipated new series whose pilot episode during the summer drew critical praise and a rabid fan following). They felt both shows were complementary to each other. They also would want to free up their summer for other experimental shows." 

The alternative to coming back so soon would have been to wait until Fall 2010 for a new season.  Nigel also nixed any speculation that there might be two seasons a year for the show, one in fall and one in summer.  The only way it seems that people might see SYTYCD in the summer months again is if the autumn experiment fails.

The risks are high.  Not only is the dance competition now facing much stronger shows on the other channels as opposed to summer filler, but with FOX's broadcast contract with Major League Baseball, the postseason championships will play havoc with the network's lineup, forcing So You Think You Can Dance to hip-hop across the schedule, or as Nigel put it, "ping pong" week after week to make room for the National Pastime's Fall Classic.  Showing his trademark enthusiasm and British charm, he expressed confidence, however, that the show's loyal fanbase would find and follow the program wherever it went.  He said, "We have a solid core audience and transferring that into the fall would be good enough. My fear is that we might be pingponging along the schedule to accommodate baseball and we might get lost in the shuffle." All they can do, he said, is make the best show they can and rely on a loyal audience to follow them around the schedule.  "And keep our fingers crossed."

In order to entice those fans to keep coming back, and in an attempt to build that base of loyal viewers ever larger, Nigel promises that the show will continue to get better and better: "We’ll be adding a few more interesting parts to the results show and as we announced today Adam Shankman is going to be a resident judge...We certainly have plans to bring celebrities back. I love the fact that everyone is getting involved with dance. I’m amazed at how many (famous) people come through and say, 'Oh, I was a dancer.' God bless him, Patrick Swayze started off as a dancer and became an actor. Scott Bakula is the same. The more I can tap back and find them (those types of celebrities with a dancebackground) the more fun it is. I want to try and expose and bring back a legacy that has almost been forgotten in this country of how brilliant your dancers were."

Of course, the broad range of dancing styles and the incredibly talented dancers competing for the chance to become "America's Favorite Dancer" will continue to be the big draw for the show.  Nigel stated, "The standard of dancing is improving all the time so hopefully that will be the appeal...I’m seeing exponential growth."

Nigel Lythgoe is proud of what the show has already accomplished.  It has brought street dancing and formally trained dancing together, creating enormous excitement not just on television but in the dance industry itself.  The show's great ratings success has allowed the producers to delve into philanthropic efforts, such as creating charitable foundations to bring dance to those who can’t afford it and establishing dance programs for kids after school.

Nigel raved about "America’s renewed love affair with dance. It’s a global phenomenon at the moment. I’m so passionate about it...The more dance we have on television, the happier I am."

Check your local listings and tune in to So You Think You Can Dance for some of the best dance routines and performers you will ever see.


Peter said…
It's unfortunate that Patrick Swayze passed on...he would have made an excellent judge!