"America's Got Talent" will lose judge Sharon Osbourne following the finale this season due to NBC's treatment of her son, which the outspoken Osbourne clan matriarch labeled as discriminatory.
Sharon Osbourne has been an "America's Got Talent" mainstay for six seasons. She joined the hit show in Season 2, taking a middle seat on the judges panel between David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan. But she told the New York Post Monday that she wouldn't come back to the show after Season 7 because of the way the network had treated her son, Jack, who had been cast to be in a new reality show in development called "Stars Earn Stripes."
"I just can’t be fake," Osbourne told the Post. "It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled."
Her words came after hints a month ago that she would part ways with the hit talent competition and the network. But the drama that would see the Osbourne's maternal instincts come to the fore began in June after Jack Osbourne appeared on his mother's other show, CBS' "The Talk," and dished that he had been fired by the NBC from the show he had been working on.
In July, David Hurwitz, producer of "Stars Earn Stripes," stated that the younger Osbourne had never been hired, so he couldn't be fired. He also said that the "rigors of the show were too intense for him."
The Osbournes contend that everything was going smoothly for Jack to appear on the new reality series, which would put celebrities through the paces of rigorous military training to see if they could "earn their stripes." About a month after Jack began preparing for the show, had even passed the show's physical qualifications and participated in endurance events, he was diagnosed by an outside agency as having multiple sclerosis. Then, two days before he was to report to begin actually filming the show, he received an email that told him he was not going to be part of the series.
The Osbournes admit that Jack had never signed a contract to be part of the show, even though they had a copy of the 50-page agreement. However, Sharon Osbourne pointedly told The Post that "good faith" agreements occurred in Hollywood all the time. She noted that she had worked on "America's Got Talent" for months while agents and network officials argued over contract details, signing the contract just before filming began.
As for her continuing to work on "America's Got Talent," Osbourne plans to finish the season, which is getting set to enter into its live show Semifinals rounds. After that, she's done, although she will still be under contract to NBC.
"They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do," she said. "All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years."
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt issued a statement Monday, according to the Associated Press, saying that "the network does not discriminate on any basis." At the same time, the network refuses to specifically reveal why they suddenly decided to not include Jack Osbourne, 26, in the cast of "Stars and Stripes," which is the basis for his mother's allegations that he is being discriminated against because of his recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis. He said that the network had offered Jack Osbourne two alternative roles on "Stars and Stripes," both of which he declined.
An anonymous NBC rep also told the Post that the network had attempted to contact Jack via phone but, when their message went unanswered, they notified him via email that he would not be joining "Stars Earn Stripes."
"America's Got Talent" has been on hiatus for the coverage of the 2012 Olympics. The show will return on August 14.
(photo credit: Wiki edit Jonny, Creative Commons)