Credit: FOX Photo: Mariah Carey Sits STILL.tiff

Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and the rumors that American Idol 2014 may come back with an entirely clean slate next season continue to be confirmed. The latest pair to get the ol’ heave-ho? Longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick! Wowzers!

American Idol 2014 without Nigel's snarky commentary about the contestants? Whatever will we do?

With the exit of judge Randy Jackson, Nigel and Ken were the only ones who had been there since the show’s inaugural season. It is certainly the end of an era. And the announcement comes on the heels of alternative programming chief Mike Darnell’s exit from FOX just before Memorial Day weekend, which was rumored to be tied to horrible American Idol ratings for Season 12.

An insider also told The Wrap that, since Mike Darnell’s exit, the idea to go with a three-alum judging panel is on hold. While Jennifer Hudson’s $5.5 million salary has already been negotiated, the contract has yet to be executed. On top of the programming exec’s absence, which is required for such a decision, FOX is also said to be waiting to get a firm answer from Kelly Clarkson. We wouldn't hold our breath on that, since she's previously stated she never wants to judge Idol and her reps have reportedly already stated it is a no.

The latest word is that Keith Urban may still be returning, and the show is seeking one or two other artists, which would only leave room for one alum (and the show allegedly really wants Kelly due to her popularity with the core Idol audience). Since Kelly's reps already came forward to say the inaugural winner is not doing Idol, we are not sure if FOX really has any chance of persuading her to change her mind.

Season 12’s ratings fell more than 20 percent over the previous season and the season finale was 40% lower in ratings than the Season 11 finale. This shakeup seems to be a last ditch attempt at saving this cash cow of a show for FOX. Do you think it will work?

Source: The Wrap

Credit: RyanSeacrest.com Photo: Nigel Lythgoe Talks About Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler Departures from American Idol With Ryan Seacrest