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America’s Got Talent has filled out the judges’ table for its 15th season.
Heidi Klum is rejoining NBC’s flagship summer series after a year away, while Modern Family star Sofia Vergara will be a new addition. Their hiring comes after Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough were not retained after the 2019 season.
Union said she was let go after complaining of a “toxic culture” on the unscripted series, saying she objected to a racially insensitive joke made by guest judge Jay Leno (that was cut from the broadcast) and was told that her hairstyles were “too black.”
NBC and SAG-AFTRA both launched investigations into Union’s complaints. NBC Entertainment chief Paul Telegdy told reporters in January that “we’ll put new practices in place, if that’s what’s necessary” to address the issues Union raised.
Klum and Vergara — who met with NBC in December about AGT and other projects — will join returning judges Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell (who created the Got Talent format and executive produces). Terry Crews will return as host.
“Sofia’s infectious energy and sharp wit will blend perfectly with returning favorites Heidi, Simon, Howie, and Terry,” Meredith Ahr, president of NBC Entertainment’s alternative and reality group, said Thursday in a statement. “As both a respected actress and successful entrepreneur, she embodies the American dream that is synonymous with AGT’s transformative stage.”
Added Trish Kinane, president entertainment programming at AGT producer Fremantle: “As we head into our milestone 15th season, we are excited to welcome Sofia to the AGT family. We are also delighted at the return of the amazing Heidi Klum and look forward to a lot of fun as these dynamic, accomplished women join Simon, Howie and host Terry Crews to inspire contestants in a fun-filled and unpredictable series.”
Klum was a judge on the summer series from 2013-18. She remained part of the franchise as a judge on the spinoff AGT: The Champions, which has aired two seasons on NBC. The model, entrepreneur and former Project Runway host’s Amazon fashion series, Making the Cut, is scheduled to premiere March 27.
Vergara is a four-time Emmy nominee for her work on ABC’s Modern Family, which wraps its 11-season run in the spring. Her feature credits include Hot Pursuit, Jon Favreau’s Chef and Wild Card, among others.
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