TV producer “Nasty” Nigel Lythgoe said reality shows need to be “smarter” in how they present their stars to protect them from online abuse.
ythgoe, who was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said more needs to be done to stop the trolling on social media following the high profile deaths of Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis and presenter Caroline Flack fight.
The man behind shows like Pop Stars and So You Think You Can Dance said the rise of online platforms was the main difference between today’s and early turn-of-the-century reality shows.
Lythgoe, 72, told the PA news agency, “We live in an age where you can say what you want on social media – unless your name is Donald Trump – you can say what you want and do it there is no effect because nobody “knows who you really are.”
He said TV producers need to beware that their editing can be potentially harmful.
“We have to care more about social media, even more than television,” said Lythgoe. “But television and television producers need to be aware of how it affects people when editing.”
He added, “You just have to be smarter with it. You don’t have to disclose everything. Most television viewers are not stupid. We can see who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. “
US-based Lythgoe, whose Walk of Fame star was revealed during a ceremony on Friday, was born in St. Helens, Merseyside, and grew up in the city of Wallasey.
It wasn’t like a Billy Elliot story where my dad said, “You have to go boxing”Nigel Lythgoe
He started tap dancing at the age of 11 – something his father, a dock worker, encouraged.
“It wasn’t like a Billy Elliot story where my dad said, ‘You have to box,'” Lythgoe said.
In 1968 he joined the BBC’s The Young Generation dance group and became a choreographer at the age of 21.
Since then, he has worked on more than 500 television shows including Morecambe And Wise, The Two Ronnies and Gladiators, as well as with some of the biggest names in showbiz like Gene Kelly and Bing Crosby.
Perhaps Lythgoe’s most influential project was pop stars.
The 2001 talent show opened the door to American Idol and The X Factor and changed television forever on both sides of the Atlantic.
Emmy award winner Lythgoe was a producer and juror on pop stars and was nicknamed “Nasty Nigel” thanks to his cutting remarks to the hopefuls.
Notoriously, he called Kym Marsh “fat” on television, a remark the actress and singer later said left her with years of uncertainty.
Lythgoe said, however, that Marsh, who was one of the show’s winners and co-founded the band Hear’Say, “has lived on it ever since”.
He told PA: “She looks fabulous now and she did it shortly after and she had a hell of a career, a really talented girl, and she makes videos every now and then and blames me for it.”
Lythgoe – who joked that he wanted to put his Walk of Fame star above Simon Cowell’s – got his name on the sidewalk at 6258 Hollywood Boulevard.
He was awarded the 2,697. Star awarded for the famous Los Angeles tourist attraction.
It was one of those things that you never dreamed of. You know, I’ve had a really good career. I’ve done really well, I come from a low income family. I did really wellNigel Lythgoe
Lythgoe admitted he was incredulous when he first learned of the honor.
He said, “It was one of those things that you never dreamed of. You know, I’ve had a really good career. I’ve done really well, I come from a low income family. I did really well.
“But at no point in what I’ve done have I ever thought, ‘Oh yeah, what you want now is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame’. It is incomprehensible. It never crossed my mind. “
When asked what he was most proud of in his career, Lythgoe said “my two boys and my five grandchildren” and added giving a platform to talented young people was another specialty.
“I got the opportunity to give talented young people a stepping stone to improve their career opportunities,” he said of his talent shows, naming some of the stars they graduated from.
“That doesn’t give them a career. And there are hundreds of children given the stepping stone who haven’t made a career out of it. But there is one or two, like the Carrie Underwoods, the Kelly Clarksons, the Adam Lamberts, the TWitchs that turned it into careers that were exposed and showed their talent.
“Because in art these days it’s really hard to keep people going.”