Looks like America’s Got Talent may be the next reality series to see a shake-up on the judge’s panel. Sharon Osbourne told the New York Post she plans to leave the hit NBC series once Season 7 comes to a close. Her reported decision stems from a feud with the network — back in June, the judge’s son, Jack Osbourne, claimed NBC fired him from the upcoming reality competition show Stars Earn Stripes after he announced his multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
“I just can’t be fake,” Sharon told the Post. “It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled.”
According to Sharon, producers for Stars Earn Stripes fired her son via email just two days before he was supposed to start work on the set. But during a press conference in July, producer David Hurwitz said they had never hired Jack from the start: “He was somebody we were in talks with.” (NBC has not yet responded to Hollywood.com’s request for comment.)
Both Sharon and Jack admit that he never formally signed his contract with the network, but that all parties involved were moving forward on good faith, which is a pretty common practice in the industry. “I was working without a signed contract right up until the live shows started on America’s Got Talent,” Sharon said. “Everything is done at the last minute. We took six months to negotiate back and forth.”
After first being contacted by NBC in April, Jack received a letter from the network’s vice president of Talent Relations, Chuck LaBella, in May that reportedly read: “We are looking forward to working with you. I am happy you are going to be in the NBC family.” One month later, Jack made his condition public — and two days before Jack was set to start working, his mother claimed that she received an email from NBC stating, “Regretfully, we cannot move forward with Jack’s participation.” (As Hurwitz said at the press conference, “The rigors of the show were too intense for him.”)
After much back-and-forth with the network, Sharon made her decision to leave AGT. “It’s time to move on,” she said. “They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do.” Osbourne, who is still technically under contract with the network, added, “All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years.”
Though the judge has yet to confirm the news to Hollywood.com, Osbourne tweeted apologies to her fans: “Please don’t misunderstand. I love @nbcagt w/ all my heart and will of course finish out the season. It is still one of the best shows on tv. Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of support and love.”
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.