The good news is America’s Got Talent is back next year and the even better news is so am I!
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 22, 2015
Cowell, who left Idol in 2011 after nine seasons and launched his hit UK show The X Factoron Fox in the United States afterwards (from 2011 to 2013), has been in talks to work with NBC for years. He told Us Weekly that he first discussed the job with the network five years ago. “We’ve been talking about it for a few years, funny enough, me and NBC. This year … everything worked. So it was perfect.” The 56-year-old music producer is notorious for his harsh and sometimes too brutally honest criticisms as a talent judge, often taking on the role of the villain on panels. He commented to Us, “I’m not going to lie to people when I think they’re hopeless, I just couldn’t do that! But no, of course I’m not going to be rude for the sake of being rude. That would be ridiculous. I’ll take it act by act.”
— America’s Got Talent (@nbcagt) October 22, 2015
This move also marks his return to American television after The X Factor USA concluded in 2013. He told The Today Show on Thursday (Oct. 22), “I think the ‘America’s Got Talent’ show honestly is one of the best talent shows in the world.”
He most recently judged the ninth series of Britain’s Got Talent, and the eleventh series of UK’s The X Factor. Cowell joins judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Mel B. (none of whom have officially been confirmed for Season 11 as of yet), and host Nick Cannon.
Meanwhile Stern, who joined the show in 2012 for Season 7, stepped down after Season 10 ended in September. He originally announced back in June that he couldn’t do his SiriusXM radio show, America’s Got Talent, and an upcoming TV project all at the same time.