America's Got Talent will have big shoes to fill on the judges' panel next season. Shock jock Howard Stern, who has appeared as a judge for four seasons since 2012, will leave NBC's reality hit at the end of Season 10, a source tells Us Weekly.
According to Stern, 61, NBC execs asked for an answer about his Season 11 contract by July 4 so that they could arrange audition venues. The peacock network had moved the Nick Cannon-hosted show's live episodes from Los Angeles to Stern's home base of New York City so that he could continue his Sirius radio gig.
Judging the talent competition alongside Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel, Stern has waffled about his participation in the series over the years, including in 2013 before he returned for his third season. "I really, really did struggle . . . because I've been working a long time. I really wanted to decide if this was going to take away too much free time," he said at the time. "Did I really still enjoy doing it? Did I have something to say? Is it something I should be involved with still?"
Stern, who replaced Piers Morgan on the panel in 2012, called himself the show's softie. "I decided that a life without AGT is not a life worth living. America needs a caring, compassionate and wise judge and who am I to deny the people what they want? It would be selfish of me to walk away," he said in a press release touting Season 10.
On his radio show Wednesday, Stern teased plans for another TV gig, and suggested that America's Got Talent's executive producer Simon Cowell may be interested in the vacant seat on the judges' panel.
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