Since 2006, NBC’s reality TV juggernaut “America’s Got Talent” has kept things fresh by constantly reinvigorating its judging panel. The original trio of judges — Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoff and Brandy Norwood — only lasted one season as a group before Norwood was replaced by Sharon Osbourne in the second season. The upcoming 15th installment, which will air this summer, will once again feature Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel, and they’ll be joined by comeback kid Heidi Klum and new judge Sofia Vergara. Terry Crews returns as host. Vergara’s addition means that a whopping 13 celebrities have now sat in the judges’ chairs on both the main show and spinoff series “AGT: The Champions.” Tour our photo gallery above to see all of the judges through the years.
Already influential as a music producer in Britain, Cowell became a household name in the United States as the mean-spirited, truth-telling judge and producer of “American Idol.” Due to his success there, as well as with UK and USA versions of “The X Factor,” Cowell created and produced “America’s Got Talent.” It wasn’t until he left both “Idol” and “The X Factor” franchises behind that he finally stepped into the chair for “AGT” to fill the vacancy left by Howard Stern.
Currently the longest-serving “AGT” cast member, Mandel first joined the series in Season 5 after the departure of Hasselhoff. Mandel’s career began in television with his acting roles on popular shows “St. Elsewhere” and the animated “Bobby’s World” as well as a handful of movies. In 2005 he began hosting the game show “Deal or No Deal,” another NBC title, which led to his spot on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010.
Klum joined the series in 2013 in a newly created fourth seat on the dais, giving the panel an even male-female split for the first time. Klum’s career began in the fashion world where she eventually rose to the status of supermodel, but has since become a television mainstay on both “AGT” and for her Emmy-winning role as longtime host of Lifetime’s design competition series “Project Runway.” She stepped away after Season 13 but now returns in Season 15.
Vergara is a four-time Emmy nominee for playing trophy wife Gloria on “Modern Family,” but this is her first foray into the world of reality television. The American-Colombian actress joins up with Klum, Mandel and Cowell for the 2020 cycle, but word is still out on Vergara’s judging style. Will she be mean and nasty like Cowell, or funny and quirky like Mandel and Klum?