'America's Got Talent' Sets Debut Date With Production in Limbo

NBC's flagship summer series will debut in late May along with 'World of Dance,' which had wrapped before most TV filming shut down.
Trae Patton/NBC
From left: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell

NBC has set a premiere date for its flagship summer series America's Got Talent, but just what the bulk of the season will look like remains up in the air.

The 15th season of America's Got Talent will debut at 8 p.m. May 26. It will be paired on Tuesday nights with World of Dance, which premieres at 10 p.m. May 26. The latter finished filming its fourth season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down most TV production in mid-March. 

America's Got Talent, however, had only filmed part of its season before production stopped. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that producers are still figuring out how to proceed after the already-shot material runs out.

"We are so proud to present a 15th season of America's Got Talent this summer," said creator, executive producer and judge Simon Cowell. "This show represents the best in perseverance, creativity and optimism. At a time when families are unable to go out, we really hope the new season will bring some much-needed joy and escape."

AGT announced the addition of Sofía Vergara and the return of Heidi Klum to the show's judging panel in late February, joining returnees Cowell and Howie Mandel and host Terry Crews. The show began production on its audition rounds a few days after that.

Several shows have produced remote episodes coordinating multiple feeds, including Saturday Night Live, specials like The Disney Family Singalong and One World: Together at Home and, as of Sunday, American Idol. Last week's NFL Draft was the largest-scale live event produced remotely since the pandemic led to widespread stay-at-home mandates.

Auditions and the first round of judges' cuts, all of which are pretaped, typically run for 10 weeks on the America's Got Talent schedule. It's unclear how much of that material the show was able to film before stopping. Live rounds usually make up the back half of the season.

As for World of Dance, it will be able to run uninterrupted through the summer as it had wrapped by mid-March.

"I'm so excited World of Dance is back this summer with a new crop of incredible dancers," said executive producer and judge Jennifer Lopez. "On our show we always say that dance is the universal language. It brings us all together, which I think is something we all need during these challenging times."

Judges Derek Hough and Ne-Yo and host Scott Evans are set to return for season four.

Cowell, Sam Donnelly, Jason Raff, Trish Kinane and Richard Wallace executive produce America's Got Talent, which hails from Fremantle and Syco Entertainment. World of Dance is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio and Lopez's Nuyorican Productions. Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina of Nuyorican, Matilda Zoltowski, Tina Nicotera Bachmann, Alex Rudzinski, David Gonzalez, Matthew Everitt and Al Hassas are exec producers.