For a second year in a row, NBC is shaking up the judging panel on summer juggernaut America’s Got Talent.
Sources confirm to Deadline that new judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough won’t be returning next summer. Set to come back as judges are AGT staples, Simon Cowell, who is also the show’s creator and executive producer, and Howie Mandel.
Union and Hough joined AGT in Season 14, which aired this past summer. This is only the second time in the history of the show that a judge exits after a single season. The first time was after AGT‘s maiden cycle when original judge Brandy Norwood was replaced by Sharon Osbourne.
The producers decided to try something new last year by replacing long-time judges Mel B and Heidi Klum with Union and Hough. (Klum remained a judge on AGT: The Champions). Talent competition reality shows rely heavily on the chemistry among the judges, which cannot be created.
It is unclear whether the two judges who sit alongside Cowell and Mandel on the second season of AGT: The Champions, Klum and Alesha Dixon, will also do the mothership series in the summer. That is a strategy AGT has been using; the first installment of AGT: The Champions featured the judging panel from AGT the previous summer. The first indication that NBC may be mulling a cast change on AGT came in September, when Dixon and Klum and not Union and Hugh were revealed as as AGT: The Champions Season 2 judges alongside Cowell and Mandel.
Fourteen seasons in, AGT remains one of the most watched shows on television. A Season 15 renewal for summer 2020 has not been officially announced but is a no-brainer.
The news of Union and Hough’s departure was first reported by Variety.