When America’s Got Talent returns to NBC for Season 15 this summer, don’t be surprised to see Sofia Vergara seated next to Simon Cowell. NBC and Freemantle, which produces AGT, reportedly met with the Modern Family star on Wednesday about filling one of the two vacant seats on the judges’ panel, according to TMZ.
Neither Julianne Hough nor Gabrielle Union, both of whom were brought in as new judges for Season 14, will be returning for the show’s next installment — though their exits weren’t exactly amicable. Our sister site Variety reported that both women had been subject to a “toxic culture” at the show, with producers giving aggressive notes about their appearance, including one particular critique about Union’s hairstyles being “too black.” Union also reportedly had an issue with a contestant whose material she found racially insensitive, leading to a clash with producers.
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” NBC and Fremantle said in a statement. “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”
Union indeed met with NBC earlier this month, revealing on Twitter, “We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
In the meantime, NBC is getting ready to air Season 2 of America’s Got Talent: The Champions, judged by Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and British TV personality Alesha Dixon. The new season premieres Monday, Jan. 6 at 8/7c. (Click here to meet the 40 acts returning for glory.)
Do you think Vergara would make a solid addition to the AGT judges’ panel? Or has the controversy surrounding Union’s exit convinced you to avoid the show altogether? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.