Nigel Lythgoe has become the subject of an investigation led by Sony Pictures Television’s 19 Entertainment, which co-produces “So You Think You Can Dance” with Dick Clark Productions, an insider tells Variety.
Sony declined to comment on the investigation.
The executive producer of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol” was recently hit by two sexual assault lawsuits, including one filed by Paula Abdul on Dec. 29. Abdul also sued 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions and Dance Nation Productions for failing to discipline Lythgoe and protecting him from accountability.
“For years, Abdul has remained silent about the sexual assaults and harassment she experienced on account of Lythgoe due to fear of speaking out against one of the most well-known producers of television competition shows who could easily break her career as a television personality and of being ostracized and blackballed by an industry that had a pattern of protecting powerful men and silencing survivors of sexual assault and harassment,” the lawsuit states.
Lythgoe denied the allegations in a statement made on Dec. 30.
“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” he said. “For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear – and entirely platonic – friends and colleagues. Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for. While Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well known, I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue. But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”
Lythgoe is also facing allegations from two contestants on “All American Girl,” a competition show that aired on ABC in 2003, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.