Since first premiering in the summer of 2006, America’s Got Talent has become a TV staple during the warmer months. Though the wildly talented acts are largely to thank for the show’s continued success, the judges have also played an important role in keeping the NBC show going. Whether you’ve been tuning into AGT from the start or have only become a fan in more recent years, the judging panel on AGT has always been full of celebrities ready to deliver their honest opinions. Read through for a completely history and timeline of all the judges who have ever sat at the desk on AGT.
Howie Mandel (Season 5- Present)
Of the current judges on the AGT panel, Howie has been around the longest (10 years and 11 seasons to be exact). Up until 2019, Howie was pulling double duty as a judge and host of the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal. The comedian also has judged the AGT spinoff America’s Got Talent: The Champions in recent years. Apart from that, Howie has appeared in several TV series over the years as himself, such as The Big Bang Theory, My Name Is Earl and Harley Quinn.
Simon Cowell (Season 11 – Present)
Though Simon is the creator and executive producer of America’s Got Talent, he didn’t actually join the show back in 2006, perhaps due to his existing contract and busy schedule judging back in the heyday of American Idol on Fox. But since replacing Howard Stern and joining Got Talent, Simon has become known as the judge to impress. He’s both a talent scout and executive leader at his entertainment company, Syco.
Heidi Klum (Seasons 8-13, 15- Present)
The supermodel and former Project Runway host has put in a lot of time at AGT over the years. Though she temporarily left for season 14, and Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union stepped in, she came back in season 15 and is still going strong today. When she hasn’t been doling out compliments behind the AGT desk, Heidi has been plenty busy working as an executive producer for several TV shows over the years, including Making the Cut, Queen of Drags and Project Runway. She’s also a beloved host for Germany’s Next Topmodel.
Sofía Vergara (Season 15 – Present)
After wrapping Modern Family, Sofía jumped right into judging AGT for season 15. Though her role on Modern Family is perhaps her most iconic thus far, Sofía has also acted in Hot Pursuit, Madea Goes to Jail, Chasing Papi and more. This year, the actress is lending her voice as Zaina in the upcoming animated film Koati.
Gabrielle Union (Season 14)
The Bring It On and LA’s Finest star appeared on the AGT panel for one season alongside Julianne Hough. While working at the NBC competition show, Gabrielle told Variety that she experienced a toxic work culture at the NBC competition show. Though the outlet reports she and Julianne were contractually obliged to return for another season, they were both dismissed from the show. After filing a discrimination complaint against AGT, NBCUniversal claimed an investigation had found that the show demonstrated an “overall culture of diversity,” though it did discover “some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.” In the end, Gabrielle and NBC released a statement indicating they had reached an “amicable resolution.” Gabrielle has since moved on to filming the TV movie White Dave and is also working on Cheaper by the Dozen and The Perfect Find.
RELATED: The Full Story of Why Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough Left AGT
Julianne Hough (Season 14)
Julianne also appeared on season 14 of AGT. Around the same time, Julianne had acted in Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings TV series. A few years prior, fans might remember her performance in Grease Live! as Sandy or her stint as both a judge and performer on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. Like Gabrielle, she was let go from the show after only one season.
Mel B (Seasons 8-13)
For six seasons, the Spice Girls singer became a fan favorite among the judges for her fair commentary and no-fear attitude when it came to dealing with Simon Cowell. Around the same time, Mel B was also a judge on The X Factor and The X Factor UK. When she stepped back from AGT in 2019 — the same year she performed in Spice World: 2019 Tour — fans were shocked to discover Mel B disguised as Seahorse in the UK version of The Masked Singer two years later.
Howard Stern (Seasons 7-10)
In 2012, the radio personality and producer joined the AGT panel just a year before ending his TV series Howard Stern on Demand. For three years, Howard judged the competition series alongside a combination of various panelists, including Howie Mandel, Mel B, Sharon Osbourne and Heidi Klum. Since leaving, Howard has kept plenty busy. Most recently, he’s working on a documentary called Feed Me.
Sharon Osbourne (Seasons 2-7)
After replacing Brandy Norwood, Sharon sat in as a panelist alongside Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff for much of her five-year stint. Right before she left the show, Sharon started her gig as a cohost on CBS’s The Talk and presenter on the British TV series Loose Women. Most recently, Sharon exited The Talk following an on-air controversy where she defended Piers and told co-host Sheryl Underwood “educate” her about racism.
David Hasselhoff (Seasons 1-4)
For AGT‘s inaugural season, the Baywatch star sat in the hot seat as Bianca Ryan was crowned the winner of the series at only 11 years old. After walking away from the NBC show, David went on to act in several projects, including Young Sheldon, Close Enough and Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens. His most recent projects include acting as himself in the upcoming TV series Ze Network and lending his voice to Kung Fury 2.
Brandy Norwood (Season 1)
Though her tenure was quick, the Moesha star definitely left her mark on AGT history. While the reason for Brandy walking away was never fully confirmed, People reports that multiple outlets at the time pointed to her involvement in a fatal L.A. car accident that led to the death of Awatef Aboudihaj (Brandy was not charged). She was replaced with Sharon Osbourne following the incident. Brandy has since acted in Star, Zoe Ever After, The Game and more.
Piers Morgan (Season 1-6)
The writer and actor was also among the first judges on the NBC competition series. During his time on the show, he also hosted Britain’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got More Talent — the former being where he witnessed the rise of singer Susan Boyle. He began presenting on the British TV program Good Morning Britain in 2015 but departed earlier this year following his controversial remarks made on the show about Meghan Markle.
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