Howard Stern made an emotional exit from the hit reality competition “America’s Got Talent” at the end of Season 10. With everyone wondering who would replace the radio DJ in the judge’s chair the show’s co-creator, and resident competition show heel, Simon Cowell has confirmed that he’s picking up where Stern left off.
The 56-year-old TV personality revealed the news on his Twitter account Thursday, confirming the eleventh season of the series will return in 2016 with him joining the judges table. Season 10 judges Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum are also expected to return, but there’s been no official word.
The good news is America’s Got Talent is back next year and the even better news is so am I!
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 22, 2015
It comes as no surprise that Cowell is the man taking over for Stern. After all, he’s something of an expert in reality competitions having appeared as a judge on the early seasons of “American Idol” and “X Factor.” He’s an executive producer on “America’s Got Talent” and Stern previously let it slip on his radio show that Cowell was pining for the job once he announced there would be a vacant chair in 2016.
Cowell has extensive experience on the British version of the show, which is what made him a perfect fit when the network came calling. However, he is the first to admit that, while it was ultimately the network’s decision, he had a bit of sway.
“I kept sort of popping my head up, saying: ‘You know, if you are looking for a good-looking British judge who could sort of fit on this show, I know someone!’” he said during an appearance on “The Today Show.”
Cowell, an experienced music producer, got his start in the U.K. before making his infamous shift to American TV. While he’s acted as a judge on the two other show’s he’s adapted for the U.S., Season 11 will mark his first recurring on-screen role on “America’s Got Talent.” It will also be the first time his fans have seen him be a judge since “The X Factor” was canceled in 2013.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt released a statement to the press explaining both his and the network’s excitement to bring Cowell back to television.
“Simon knows this format better than anyone and he’s been producing the show with us since the beginning,” he said (via Entertainment Weekly). “So we’re thrilled to have him to step in front of the camera and take his rightful place at the head of the judges’ panel. We welcome him to the on-screen NBC family.”
According to Deadline, there is no official word on when “America’s Got Talent” Season 11 will premiere. However, NBC has announced the audition dates for the series, which will hit 12 cities throughout the country from November 2015 - February 2016. While waiting for the next season to kick off, you can check out a video compilation of some of Cowell's harshest critiques below: