It’s out with Howard Stern and in with Simon Cowell when “America’s Got Talent” returns for its 11th season to the NBC lineup on May 31. He will join Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum as the judges who will make or break dreams.
Cowell said he has wanted to be on the show for years.
“I came down to watch the show being filmed. I was sitting in the audience, thinking they are very good, the panel. But I was kind of hoping one of them would hurt themselves. Not badly, but enough that I would have to go ‘I’m here,’ because it really, really looked so much fun, this show,” Cowell told journalists gathered for a summer press day by the network.
He was offered the job five years ago, but he was so tied up with other talent competition programs he couldn’t take it on.
This feels like perfect timing. Cowell’s always been a perfect fit for that judging spot. Both Piers Morgan and Howard Stern brought an honesty to their critiques that gave the show some bite. The other three judges are nice, but these shows need a tough judge.
“American Idol” wouldn’t have gone into a second season without Cowell as one of the original judges.
Look for Cowell to have plenty opportunities to dish out his acerbic brand of honesty. They filmed an episode where the talent was so bad Cowell told the other judges that he had lost the will to live.
But the good acts outweigh the bad.
“When it’s good, of course it’s worth it. Because when you’re there, when you discover a star or you think that could become a star, you’ll never forget that moment, never forget that audition,” Cowell says.
The good acts don’t see the kind of verbal salvos that have earned Cowell a reputation as a tough guy. Even his fellow judges were a little concerned about him.
Mandel knew the kind of straight-forward approach Cowell has taken on every show, and he didn’t know how that would hit with the “America’s Got Talent” judging panel. He says it became apparent quickly that he Cowell was a perfect fit.
“It is more fun than we have ever had in the history of this show,” Mandel says.