Original ‘American Idol’ Producer Wylleen May Denies Exit Is Related to Recent Investigation

Original Idol Producer Wylleen May Denies Exit Is Related to Recent HR Investigation 692 693

Wylleen May, who has worked on American Idol as an executive in charge of production since the series launched in 2002, has left the show – and she insists it has nothing to do with a recent HR investigation at the long-running reality competition.

May acknowledged in a statement to Deadline that she was part of an investigation last year, but denied that it was related to her exit. Fremantle, the company that produces Idol, made the decision not to retain her and insisted the same.

“It is hard to express the gratitude I have to the team at Fremantle and American Idol, the place I knew as home for the last 22 years,” she said. “It may sound cliche, but it was my absolute honor to work day in and day out with people I consider to be some of the most talented, dedicated, and devoted in the business. I will miss you terribly.”

May’s tenure at Idol outlasted its initial run. She followed the series from FOX – where it ran until 2016 – to its relaunch on ABC in 2018.

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“I am sad to be leaving. I will forever cherish my time with Idol, and hope I am remembered for my experience, passion, and dedication to my role. All we want for ourselves is to know that our work had a lasting impact,” she said. “I am excited for my next journey, and what that will bring. Sometimes you need a little push forward, and I am grateful for all of it – beginning, middle, and end.”

May said that her departure has led to “hurtful speculation and innuendo” and she used the statement to clear the air.

“I was the subject of an HR investigation following a complaint about how I interacted with certain members of my team. I fully and completely cooperated with this investigation, and it was closed quickly without any action taken,” she stressed. “The decision to move on from me to a new EIC is not related, and any implication otherwise is completely misleading and inaccurate.”

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A Fremantle spokeswoman echoed May’s insistence and thanked the veteran producer for her work on Idol.

“Wylleen has played a crucial role in helping build the lasting legacy of American Idol over the course of 22 seasons. She steered the production to enduring success, and we are deeply grateful for her contributions and dedication to the show. The decision to make staffing changes for the next season was not based on the conclusion of any investigation,” the spokeswoman told Deadline.

May is not the only member of the Idol team to leave after the most recent season. Katy Perry, who has served as a judge since season 16, announced that season 22 would be her final cycle with the show. Idol has yet to name a replacement for her.