Piers Morgan Gives Up America's Got Talent

The last original member of the America’s Got Talent lineup is now gone. Its first host Regis Philbin and original judges David Hasselhoff and Brandy have been replaced in past years, and now judge Piers Morgan has decided to step away, citing the conflict with his current CNN talk show, Piers Morgan Tonight.

Morgan made the announcement on the Wednesday edition of his talk show. He said he had originally intended to continue doing both shows, but that the demands on his time were greater than he had anticipated; and with CNN heading into an election year, he made the decision to go with news fulltime. He thanked the creator of America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell, for giving him the initial opportunity that has led the former British tabloid editor into a full-fledged career in American television (in addition to America’s Got Talent, Morgan was also the winner of the first celebrity version of The Apprentice).

Morgan’s departure presents AGT, which is often the highest-rated network series in any given summer week, with both a problem and an opportunity. The problem is that Morgan’s image as the grumpy Brit who hates everything and everybody was a big part of the show’s shtick, especially when he was being needled by fellow judge Howie Mandel. But it’s been a little embarrassing these last two seasons that a show named America’s Got Talent had three judges who weren’t American (Sharon Osbourne serving along with Morgan and Mandel).

The series isn’t a huge commitment – Osbourne manages to do both it and The Talk – so the producers ought to be able to find a reasonably high-profile replacement.