Fox on Thursday confirmed that Nigel Lythgoe will return as an executive producer of "American Idol." He joins executive producers Simon Fuller, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick for the 10th anniversary season that kicks off in January.

Lythgoe served as executive producer for the hit show's first seven years. "His unbridled passion has been missed," said creator and executive producer Fuller. "I felt it was an important time to collaborate with Nigel once again to help redefine American Idol and take us through to the next incarnation of the show."

And while no official word yet on whether or not Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler will be slotted in as judges, focus has again shifted to Interscope Geffen A&M chief Jimmy Iovine - not surprising in light of Tuesday's deal between "Idol" producer 19 Entertainment and Interscope - who has been long floated as a contender for an 'Idol' judging seat.

Iovine is "expected to have a significant role with the show," according to the L.A. Times which said it is "unlikely that Iovine will be a judge on the show, but he will be a mentor of sorts."

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