Since debuting in 2006, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” has seen its share of judges and hosts. Notable names like David Hasselhoff, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell have all sat at the judges’ table, while five different hosts have acted as ringleader, including most recently Terry Crews. Tour our “AGT” photos below to view how America’s favorite reality TV show has evolved over the past two decades.
Brandy Norwood (Judge)
Following the height of her music career in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brandy Norwood joined the series as judge as the resident musical talent expert. Though she was slated to return for the second season, Norwood stepped down as a judge after only one year when a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against her and she determined she couldn’t give the show her full attention.
David Hasselhoff (Judge)
Only six years after the finale of the iconic “Baywatch” series he’s best known for, David Hasselhoff joined “AGT” as one of the series’ first three judges and remained in his post through four seasons. Hasselhoff left the show in 2009 to star in short-lived reality show with his daughters called “The Hasselhoffs,” but later returned (in a way) to the series by serving as a judge across the pond on “Britain’s Got Talent” for one season.
Piers Morgan (Judge)
Already well-known in Britain, Piers Morgan’s rise in the ranks of American television began with his tenure as a judge on “AGT” in 2006 where he served for six seasons. In that time he also competed on and won the first season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” and served double duty as a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Morgan left the series in 2011 to host “Piers Morgan Live” on CNN.
Sharon Osbourne (Judge)
By the time Sharon Osbourne joined “AGT” in 2007, she had made a huge name for herself as the outspoken star of the hit reality series “The Osbournes” (2002-2005) based on her and husband Ozzy Osbourne’s family life. Before leaving “AGT” in 2012, Osbourne had not only revitalized her husband’s career, but was considered one of the richest women in Britain and began her tenure as one of five co-hosts on the daytime talk show “The Talk” for which she won an Emmy in 2017.
Howie Mandel (Judge)
Seasons 5-Present, plus “AGT: The Champions”
Currently the longest-serving “AGT” cast member, Howie Mandel first joined the series in Season 5 after the departure of David 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.
Howard Stern (Judge)
To fill the shoes of resident cranky judge Piers Morgan, “America’s Got Talent” enlisted none other than the shock jock radio host Howard Stern. Because Stern was still running his Sirius XM radio show in New York City, AGT shifted its live episode filming location from Los Angeles to New Jersey to accommodate him. Stern left the series in 2012 after four seasons.
Heidi Klum (Judge)
Seasons 8-13 & 15-Present, plus “AGT: The Champions”
Heidi 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.
Mel B (Judge)
Seasons 8-13, plus “AGT: The Champions” Season 1
Best known as Scary Spice of the worldwide super girl group The Spice Girls, Mel B came to “AGT” as the replacement for Sharon Osbourne, the seat on the panel seemingly reserved for a musical talent expert. Prior to “AGT,” Mel B had competed on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” where she was the runner-up and has on-again, off-again stints as host of various “The X Factor” incarnations around the world.
Simon Cowell (Judge)
Seasons 11-Present, plus “AGT: The Champions”
Already influential as a music producer in Britain, Simon 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.
Gabrielle Union (Judge)
With Mel B and Heidi Klum both leaving after six seasons, NBC asked Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough to sit in the seats between Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. Union is a BET Award-nominated actress who’s perhaps best recognized for her roles in “Bring It On” and the “Bad Boys” universe.
Julianne Hough (Judge)
Julianne Hough came on-board the 14th season in 2019 along with Gabrielle Union. Hough is no stranger to reality TV, having been a “Dancing With the Stars” pro dancer and judge. She’s also acted in productions like “Grease Live” and “Rock of Ages.”
Alesha Dixon (Judge)
“AGT: The Champions” Season 2
New in early 2020 to the “AGT” family was “Britain’s Got Talent’s” longtime judge Alesha Dixon, who joined on to “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” for Season 2. This British singer/songwriter has yet to appear on the main series.
Sofia Vergara (Judge)
Sofia 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 joined up with a returning Klum, plus Mandel and Cowell, for the 2020 cycle and was an instant hit with viewers.
Regis Philbin (Host)
Regis Philbin followed up a successful run as the host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” by bringing his well-known daytime television personality back to primetime as host for the show’s inaugural season in 2006. Still contributing as co-host to “Live with Regis and Kelly” on weekday mornings, Philbin flew back and forth between Los Angeles and New York City to film both shows, an inconvenience that would cause him to leave “AGT” after only one season.
Jerry Springer (Host)
Following Philbin’s early departure from the series, tabloid talk show host Jerry Springer stepped in to assume hosting duties for two seasons. Springer’s tenure was also short-lived; he left the show in 2009 to pursue other commitments, making way for the series’ longest running host, Nick Cannon, in 2009.
Nick Cannon (Host)
Before hosting “AGT,” Nick Cannon had already established himself as an engaging and fresh hosting talent due to the success of MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out,” which he created, produced and hosted as well as enjoying a meteoric rise to fame after marrying superstar Mariah Carey the year before. Cannon left the series in 2016 over creative differences with the network.
Tyra Banks (Host)
Tyra Banks came aboard “AGT” in 2017 to replace longtime host Nick Cannon. Like Heidi Klum, Banks made a name for herself as a supermodel before turning her sights toward reality television where she created, hosted and produced the hit show “America’s Next Top Model.” Banks hosted “ANTM” from 2003 to 2015 when she took a break from the series, but then she later returned.
Terry Crews (Host)
Seasons 14-Present, plus “AGT: The Champions”
After hosting previous shows like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “World’s Funniest” and “Ultimate Beastmaster,” Terry Crews first stepped his foot into the “AGT” waters in the popular spinoff series “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.” He was such a hit with fans that NBC asked him back full-time following the departure of Tyra Banks.