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Lex Luthor Actor Departing Smallville

REUTERS and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER confirm that actor Michael Rosenbaum is leaving the CW's SMALLVILLE after seven seasons playing Superman nemesis Lex Luthor.

He will be replaced by two new villains, but might appear as a guest on the show's upcoming eighth season.

"It is time for me to start the next chapter of my life and career," Rosenbaum said Thursday. "I hope that I gave you some enjoyment over the years and that you found my portrayal of Lex Luthor to be satisfying."

A statement from the show's executive producers said, "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."

Rosenbaum's departure had been hinted at for some time, as producers have been looking to shake up the show for its likely final season.

One new villain could be Doomsday, who is famous in the DC Universe as the only villain to ever kill Superman. Another new evil-doer to the show will be an "intelligent, brilliantly manipulative and dangerously sinister" woman whose "attraction with Clark may prove to be as deadly as kryptonite for him."

TVGUIDE reports that Allison Mack, who plays Chloe, is still in talks with producers to come back next season.

The show's seventh season finale, "Arctic," airs on Thursday, May 15.