Fox has wasted little time naming a new “American Idol” executive producer.
Per Blankens, who comes from Sweden, most recently has exec produced that country’s version of “Idol.” Blankens also oversaw versions of “MasterChef” and “The Biggest Loser” for Scandinavian production company Meter Television.
Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, who were long-time exec producers on the American version, were let go by the network over the weekend. Ratings have plummeted in recent seasons, and with judges Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey all exiting, the show will definitely have new blood when it returns for its 13th season in January 2014.
Keith Urban’s fate at the judge’s table has not yet been revealed. One rumor has it that three former contestants will make up the panel on the new season.
"Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the show runner on the blockbuster 'Swedish Idol' for more than 5 seasons," Trish Kinane, the "Idol" executive producer for FremantleMedia North America, said in a release. "He is extremely passionate about 'Idol' and I'm very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping 'Idol' creatively vibrant.
"The 'Idol' franchise is a worldwide phenomenon and I'm honored to be a part of the most popular of the franchises, 'American Idol,'” Blankens added. “I can't wait to get started as auditions for the new season are just a few weeks away."