Nigel Lythgoe is returning to American Idol as a producer.

The former Popstars judge left his producing role on American Idol two years ago to focus on So You Think You Can Dance, the Fox channel dancing contest he executive produces and judges.

He will represent CKx Inc, the holding company of Idol co-producer 19 Entertainment.

‘Nasty Nigel’ will be joining executive producers Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Ken Warwick and creator Simon Fuller on behalf of CKx, which shares rights to the show with FremantleMedia North America.

His return had been widely rumoured over the past week.

“Since we launched the original Pop Idol in England, I’ve remained close with Simon Fuller,” said Nigel. “American Idol became a juggernaut of epic proportions, but to me it was always like home. I am elated and honoured to be rejoining childhood friend and fellow executive producer Ken Warwick, and look forward to creating more magic.”

Nigel originally served as American Idol producer when it debuted in 2002.

“Nigel helped to define the show I created almost 10 years ago, mentoring our judging panel and nurturing our talent,” Fuller said. “His unbridled passion has been missed.”

The reunion comes amid sweeping changes for the show’s judging panel. Simon Cowell left at the end of last season, and Ellen DeGeneres announced last week she would not return.