Howie Mandel, notorious germaphobe, will shake fellow judges’ hands on America’s Got Talent this season. These and other revelations too numerous to mention will be revealed today during NBCU’s Summer Press Day at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena. A gaggle of reporters is here, speed-dating their way through NBCU’s summer shows – 15-minute Q&A sessions per program, which smart producers can slim down to about seven minutes of Q&A by filibustering with a promotional tape and dispensing champagne to the journalists – also smart – to toast to the show’s upcoming 10th anniversary.
Mandel, who says he suffers from OCD, said one of this coming season’s competitors hypnotized him, after which he shook hands with the other panelists. He later saw the tape and wondered, “Was I taken advantage of?” That’s easy: Yes.
Mandel said he was a little perplexed, already having put his therapist into a “whole new tax bracket” as he dealt with his OCD, and then this guy comes along and, in five minutes, has him shaking people’s hands. “It’s amazing to see I survived it,” Mandel told journalists, as he sat up onstage, pressing his hands and squeezing them between his thighs.
In December, Howard Stern announced on his radio show he would return to Talent for the 10th season — to make sure he got his own headline. Mission accomplished. Stern joined AGT with much fanfare in 2012, though he didn’t supply the major ratings bump some press had anticipated for the show, which is a solid summer performer. In February, the other judges –Heidi Klum, Mandel, and Mel B — were announced to return, as well as host Nick Cannon.
Last summer, AGT, produced by FremantleMedia North America and Syco Entertainment, was the No. 1 summer show in total viewers for a ninth consecutive year.