It was recently reported that Season 14 AGT judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough will not be returning for next year’s competition. Gabrielle and Julianne have yet to comment on the departure, and Variety didn’t give a reason, except to say that, according to a source, judges are “often cycled out and return later.”
However, one report suggests that Gabrielle in particular may have been fired for speaking up about issues behind the scenes. The media has jumped on the bandwagon that racism and sexism is be to blamed for her quick departure, before we talk about why that is not the case, here is what multiple news sources have reported.
Why Gabrielle Union Leaving ‘AGT’?
“[Gabrielle’s] contract was not renewed after being the #1 talent on the show, NBC and network TV. She set the record for her Golden Buzzer. They only replace the women and blacks at Simon’s whim,” the sources allegedly said.
“She wouldn’t walk away from $12 million because she’s ‘busy,’” they continued. “Based on weekly interactions on social media, by the time AGT finale aired Gabrielle was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. Why not pick up someone’s option in extreme success?”
The sources apparently added that Simon is out of touch with social media, explaining, “The idea that the network wants to ‘switch things up’ only applies to women and Black folks.” (Simon and longtime judge Howie Mandel are expected to return next season.)
Why Did Nick Cannon Quit ‘AGT’?
The sources and new outlets have also argued that former AGT judge Nick Cannon “wasn’t crazy” for quitting the show in 2017. After apparently being threatened with termination for a joke he told in a comedy special, Nick announced his departure on Facebook.
“There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity,” Nick wrote, adding that it wasn’t the first time executives with the show tried to “put me in my place.”
In his Showtime special Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, Nick said, “That’s what NBC is gonna stand for tonight: ‘N—rs better come on, ‘cuz n—rs be cussin’, so n—rs be careful.'” He said AGT “took my real n—r card,” and that he couldn’t say what he wanted on the show because “that would mess up the white money.”
Who’s Replacing Gabrielle And Julianne?
Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough’s AGT replacements for Season 15 have yet to be announced. However, we do know that former judge Heidi Klum and BGT judge Alesha Dixon have joined the panel for AGT: The Champions.
The second season of Champions has already been filmed, and will premiere January 6, 2020. Maybe Heidi and Alesha will decide to stay on for a regular season, or maybe the show will find two entirely new judges.
Meanwhile, we’ll have to wait and see if either Gabrielle or Julianne speak up about why they’re leaving the show. We know they both have busy careers, but could the latest reports be true right?
Why Racism is Not a factor in Gabrielle’s Firing — perhaps.
It is no secret that America’s Got Talent‘s rankings have been going down and even though the past season was a success in terms of popularity, it was nothing compared to what it was 2 years ago.
Here is a graph of America’s Got Talent‘s popularity as per Google Trends.
The season with the lowest buzz since 2016 and it was the season Gabrielle Union was judging, so if I was Simon Cowell, I would probably change the judges panel too and it will have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with saving my show.
Now lets come to numbers, the finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which saw blind, autistic singer Kodi Lee take home 1 million dollars and the coveted AGT trophy, drew almost 10 million viewers. That is a lot of numbers, yeah it is but it is also not. It is a staggering 29% decrease from the 2018 finale, which came in at a 2.10 rating, and the lowest rating for an “AGT” finale in the show’s history. So it did worse than the worse they ever had.
The 10 million viewership was also the highest figure the show has produced in its 14th season, it is still significantly down on the 13 million sets of eyeballs that tuned in to see last year’s final results.