America’s Got Talent has, for 11 seasons, consistently been one of NBC’s most reliable summer ratings-grabbers. However, all of that may be in jeopardy as the show gears up for production in the coming weeks without a host, following Nick Cannon’s resignation from the show.
As Us Magazine reports, Cannon, who had hosted the popular show since 2009, got into some hot water with his bosses at NBC earlier this year after he made a controversial joke about the network during his Showtime comedy special. Specifically, as Vulture reported at the time, he quipped that “NBC” stands for “N****r Better Come On.”
— Black Then (@4BlackThen) March 2, 2017
So outraged were Cannon’s bosses at NBC that he was almost in danger of being fired, and perhaps even being sued for breach of contract for disparaging NBC’s brand. However, Nick put the matter himself to rest by quitting before he could be fired. In a lengthy Facebook post, Cannon said that his integrity as an artist comes before money.
“I will not be silenced, controlled, or treated like a piece of property. Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions. I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”
Regardless of whether or not Cannon was treated unfairly by NBC, one thing remains clear: with Nick gone, that puts America’s Got Talent in the position of not having a host. And with the summer TV season right around the corner, the clock is ticking.
— America’s Got Talent (@nbcagt) March 11, 2017
As TMZ reported last week, America’s Got Talent producers turned their attention to another high-profile black comedian, Marlon Wayans, as a possible replacement host. The move made sense for NBC, as putting another black comedian with a recognizable “Brand” into the host’s role would make for a seamless transition for viewers.
— Altamish???? (@selenasfriendly) March 11, 2017
Unfortunately, that deal fell through, as TMZ reported that Wayans wanted more money than NBC was willing to give.
Now, according to BET, producers have their eyes on another black actor, Dirty Grandpa‘s, Brandon Mychal Smith.
— BlackAmericaWeb.com (@BlackAmericaWeb) March 10, 2017
As of this writing, however, nothing is official, and no contracts have been signed. But according to industry insiders, Smith is all but certain to sign on as host of America’s Got Talent any day now.
According to BET, the move makes perfect sense for NBC.
“Going with Smith will reportedly cost them much less and will be more of a seamless transition as his brand is not as widespread and independent as Wayans’.”
Smith, for his part, hasn’t said much about the negotiations or about a future at America’s Got Talent. Although last week he did post a tweet that might mean something (or maybe nothing).
Always remember to thank the people who told you no & the people who told you yes.. the no’s ironically are the most defining #getbackup
— Brandon Mychal Smith (@BrandonSmithCEO) March 7, 2017
Regardless of where negotiations stand with a host, one good thing America’s Got Talent fans can look forward to this summer is the return of all four judges. As TV By The Numbers reported in August, Mel B, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell have all agreed to return to the judges’ chairs this summer.
As of this writing, it is not known when America’s Got Talent will return to the NBC lineup.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]