5:52am PT by Hilary Lewis
Simon Cowell Joins 'America's Got Talent' as Judge
Simon Cowell will be a judge on the upcoming 11th season of NBC's hit summer series, America's Got Talent.
The former American Idol judge, who created the Got Talent format that launched with AGT in 2006, joins the show as judge Howard Stern has said he won't be returning for the next season.
“I am really thrilled to be joining America’s Got Talent next season,” said Cowell. “What I love about this show is that it’s open to absolutely anyone. America has some fantastic talent just waiting to be discovered, and I would like that talent to come to our show, including any dogs who can sing!”
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt added: “Simon knows this format better than anyone and he’s been producing the show with us since the beginning, so we’re thrilled to have him to step in front of the camera and take his rightful place at the head of the judges’ panel. We welcome him to the onscreen NBC family.”
Cowell will continue his role as executive producer of AGT. After leaving the American Idol judges' table, Cowell went on to be a judge on the U.S. version of The X Factor.
“As the creator of the Got Talent format, he genuinely loves the show more than anyone and is uniquely qualified as we take AGT into its next decade,” said Paul Telegdy, president alternative and late night programming at NBC Entertainment. “We can’t wait to see the incredible acts the show will uncover as we head into season 11.”
FremantleMedia North America entertainment president and AGT executive producer Trish Kinane added: “Quite simply, Simon Cowell is one of the best judges of talent in the world. He has a brilliant ability to identify acts with raw talent and develop them into superstars. We are delighted to have Simon’s honest critique at the judges' table for season 11 of AGT, entertaining audiences and sparking conversation as we search for America’s next great talent.”
The past season of America's Got Talent on NBC averaged 12.5 million viewers overall, its most-watched season in four years, making the show the No. 1 summer alternative series in total viewers for the tenth year in a row.
Auditions for the upcoming 11th season of AGT are currently underway, with the show auditioning hopefuls in Detroit on Nov. 7 before stopping in 12 U.S. cities, including New York (Nov. 14), Phoenix (Dec. 3), Salt Lake City (Dec. 5), Las Vegas (Dec. 6) and San Jose (Dec. 8).
AGT is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Syco Entertainment, Cowell's joint venture with Sony Music. Cowell, Kinane, Sam Donnelly, Jason Raff and Richard Wallace are the executive producers.
More to come ...