Then American Idol judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez both announced they would not be returning for another season. And now Sharon Osbourne has confirmed that she is leaving America's Got Talent.
While the former shows are "going in a new direction" Sharon Osbourne's decision to leave AGT has less to do with the show she judges than unrelated choices by network executives. In fact, Osbourne is accusing NBC of discrimination for eliminating her son, Jack Osbourne, from the line-up of Stars Earn Stripes.
Osbourne, 59, told The New York Post that producers of Stars Earn Stripes (the new reality show where celebrities face challenges that military recruits endure) fired Jack from the show just days before the competition was to begin because he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"I just can’t be fake," she said. "It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled."
When she couldn't reach an amenable solution with NBC about their treatment of her son, Osbourne decided she wouldn't return to AGT after this season, even though she is still under contract.
"They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do," she explained to The New York Post. "All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years."
Apparently that's a penalty that Osbourne is willing to accept in order to support her son.
Meanwhile Stars and Stripes producer David Hurwitz insists that Jack was never officially chosen as a contestant on the show.
While Osbourne acknowledges that Jack hadn't signed a contract, she maintains that it is common in the industry to delay signing until filming begins. As she points out, "I was working without a signed contract right up until the live shows started on America’s Got Talent. Everything is done at the last minute."
In May, Chuck LaBella, the NBC’s vice president of talent relations sent an email to Jack that said, "We are looking forward to working with you. I am happy you are going to be in the NBC family."
But after Jack went public about his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, another e-mail was sent to Osbourne (just two days before Jack was supposed to report to the set), which read, "Regretfully, we cannot move forward with Jack’s participation."
The Post reports that Stars Earn Stripes producer Hurwitz, insists that "The rigors of the show were too intense for him;" even though Jack had successfully completed a 30 mile, 16 hour endurance race in January.
Apparently Jack also offered to get his own insurance to cover any injuries he might suffer during the competition, but that offer was rejected. However, NBC allegedly offered to pay Jack his full appearance fee--or consider him for another show--but he refused.
"He didn’t want the money," Osbourne maintains. "He wanted his gig. It gave him something to look forward to when he was diagnosed. Think of the good that it could have done to show other people who have this [condition] that your life is not over."
No word yet who will replace Sharon Osbourne as a judge on America's Got Talent.