Nigel Lythgoe is returning as executive producer of American Idol, raising speculation that he may also step into Simon Cowell's shoes as a judge on America's top-rated entertainment show. Cowell served as a judge on the similar British TV talent show Popstars , where he earned the nickname "Nasty Nigel." ("I don't think I am [nasty] at all," he told the Johannesburg Times last week. "I am just honest. You can sugar-coat everything, but that's not how the real world works. It is very, very tough out there.") Lythgoe currently serves as a judge and executive producer on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance. Fox is expected to discuss plans for American Idol at the summer TV Critics Tour in Pasadena on August 2. However, Daily Variety said today (Tuesday) that it is unlikely to name a successor to Cowell at that time. Lythgoe, however, was highly critical of the decision to add a fourth judge to the show, raising additional speculation that one of the two female judges maybe forced to leave before the critics' meeting.