America’s Got Talent is going to look different when it returns for Season 14. Terry Crews will step in as host, and longtime judges Mel B and Heidi Klum will be replaced by newcomers Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough. Learn more about Mel B and Klum’s departure below.
The plan to replace the female judges was announced at the top of the year, and, according to Meredith Ahr, the President of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC Entertainment, the show wanted to focus on changing things up and evolving its panel. “One of the many secrets to the success and longevity of America’s Got Talent is its fearless drive to reinvent itself,” Ahr told Deadline. “The next evolution of the format brings in fresh expert eyes to join Simon and Howie on the panel.”
Mel B & Heidi Klum Will Be Replaced By Gabrielle Union & Julianne Hough Next Season
“Gabrielle and Julianne are two of the most aspirational women in the business,” Ahr added. “On top of being electric entertainers with talent across disciplines.” This is not the first time that rumors of judge replacement has surfaced. “The word on the street is they are replacing all AGT judges except Simon [Cowell],” a source claimed last year. “It started with [talk about replacing] Mel B and now it’s everyone. Tyra [Banks] is gone.”
The source went on to say that “Simon’s ready for new judges.” Cowell’s position as a judge is safe given he just renewed a multi-year deal with NBC, and that he helped created the series back in 2006. Another factor that reportedly influenced the decision to cast new judges was the competition put forth by similar reality shows like NBC’s The World’s Best.
NBC Said That They Changed Judges In Order to ‘Evolve’ the Series
“It’s a competitive industry and no one is more competitive than NBC. That’s why they have America’s Got Talent: The Champions on. That was a direct shot at us,” reality guru Mike Darnell told Deadline. “That’s okay; we’re ready for the challenge. We’ve got the next new spin on the variety show.”
While neither Mel B nor Klum has commented on their eventual departure, Hough has said that she’s eager to join the America’s Got Talent crew on Instagram. “It’s officially official, I could not be more excited to announce I will be a judge on the upcoming season of @agt!!,” she wrote on February 11. “The talent on this show is absolutely outstanding, and I have no doubt this next season is going to WOW. Thank you @nbc & my incredible team. Let’s go!!!”