UPDATE: NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt just publicly addressed Sharon Osbourne’s statements in an interview that she is leaving NBC’s America’s Got Talent because the network discriminated against her son Jack, axing him from the new reality series Stars Earn Stripes after he disclosed that he had MS. NBC had previously acknowledged that it had been in talks with Jack but never reached a deal; Sharon Osbourne countered that there was a binding verbal agreement. Here is Greenblatt’s statement:
“First, we have the deepest affection for Sharon Osbourne and consider her to be part of the NBC family. And our hearts go out to her, Ozzy, Jack and his family at this time. We hold medical information in strict confidence and therefore cannot comment specifically about Jack, but as a company that cares deeply about the health and safety of everyone on our shows — especially one like Stars Earn Stripes that requires dangerous water stunts, strenuous physical activity, and uses live ammunition – we required all potential participants to undergo medical vetting to ensure that they could safely participate. Although we did not ask Jack to participate in the competition, we were able to offer him two substantial alternative roles on the show, both of which he declined. This network does not discriminate on any basis.”
PREVIOUS 11AM: Two weeks ago NBC topper Bob Greenblatt dismissed chatter that Sharon Osbourne is leaving America’s Got Talent as “much ado about nothing.” But the story is not going away, with Osbourne making her strongest statement yet, following her open-ended tweet to Howard Stern that she is “not returning to AGT because…” and her ambiguous answers at The Talk press event last week.
In an interview with the New York Post, Osbourne was adamant she is done with Talent. “It’s time to move on”, she told the paper. NBC insiders had indicated that Osbourne has three more years on her contract for the show, so it’s up to the network to exercise its option. “They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do”, she told NYP. “All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years”. In the interview she revealed that her decision to leave stems from the treatment her son Jack allegedly had received from NBC. She claims that the network had verbally agreed to cast Jack in its upcoming celebrities-in-military-training reality series Stars Earn Stripes but dropped him two days after he went public with his MS diagnosis, despite his offer to pay for his own insurance. “I just can’t be fake”, she said. “It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled”.