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'Smallville' to lose Lex Luthor, gain two new villains

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Michael Rosenbaum, who has played Lex Luthor for seven seasons on Smallville, is leaving the series, according to a statement released by the CW and Warner Bros. TV today. Luthor’s departure will make way for two new, yet-to-be-cast villains for next season: Doomsday, the character best known in the D.C. Comics world for killing Superman, and an antagonist female whose sole purpose seems to be challenging Clark (Tom Welling). “While Michael won’t be a series regular, and we won’t have the pleasure of working with him on a weekly basis this fall, we like to think that we haven’t seen the last of Lex Luthor,” the show’s executive producers said in a statement. “Stay tuned.”

Rosenbaum thanked fans for their loyalty and for making Smallville a success. “It is time for me to start the next chapter of my life and career,” the actor said in the statement. “I hope that I gave you some enjoyment over the years, and that you found my portrayal of Lex Luthor to be satisfying. I sincerely hope that you will continue to follow my career through my hair growth period.”

This isn’t the first major departure from Smallville this season. Just last month, creators/executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar announced they were leaving the young-Superman show. Smallville is the CW’s longest-running drama. —Lynette Rice