'American Idol' Producer Insists Nicki/Mariah Feud Is No 'Ratings' Ploy

'I have no idea why I would be doing it [for ratings] five months before the show went out,' Nigel Lythgoe says of timing of the feud.

This isn't Nigel Lythgoe's first rodeo. If there's one thing the "American Idol" executive producer knows how to do it's hype his show and give people something to watch during the season.

That might explain why he denied that the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey beef was a put on when TMZ caught up with him this week in Los Angeles.

"I have no idea why I would be doing it [for ratings] five months before the show went out," he said of the now-infamous on-set battle, caught on tape, in which Minaj can be seen going hard at Carey. "So they've got to realize I would only do anything for ratings a month before the show went out. They've got my timing wrong."

That, of course, begs the question of whether the two women have gotten beyond their beef and made up, since there have been no reports of subsequent dust-ups following the initial fight. "They were amicable that afternoon," Lythgoe said. "And I think before anybody makes any judgments they should see the show."

In the wake of the video leak, Carey's husband, Nick Cannon, has chalked the fight up to "theatrics," while "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said he thought it just went "too far."

There's no word yet on any structural changes to the "Idol" brand this year, but when asked what he thought of the new twist added to rival reality singing show "The Voice" this year in the form of a "steal," Lythgoe said he'd not seen the show, so he doesn't know. "A good friend of mine said how much fun it was," he said.

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