Entertainment

‘America’s Got Talent’ enlists Kenan Thompson as next Simon Cowell replacement

Kenan Thompson is the latest star who has been tapped to fill in for Simon Cowell as a judge on “America’s Got Talent.”

The “Saturday Night Live” cast member will temporarily take over for Cowell, who underwent back surgery over the weekend of Aug. 10 following a bike accident. Sources close to “AGT” say there is no word yet as to when Cowell will return to his hosting seat. Last week, Kelly Clarkson was the one to temporarily take Cowell’s position.

Thompson will join this season’s regular judging panel of Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara, and host Terry Crews for Tuesday and Wednesday’s live telecasts. The news comes only a couple weeks after he received yet another Emmy nomination in the supporting actor in a comedy series for his work on “SNL.”

Cowell was hospitalized on Aug. 8 after a bike accident at his home in Malibu. According to a statement from his reps, he was testing out a new electric bicycle in the courtyard of his home when he fell. He was in surgery for five hours but is now said to be recovering.

He put out his own statement last Sunday, thanking fans for the outpouring of support he has received. He also thanked the doctors and nurses at the hospital, calling them “Some of the nicest people I have ever met.”

Thompson is set to deepen his ties with NBC through the upcoming comedy series “Kenan,” which is slated to premiere sometime midseason. The show centers on a recently widowed host of Atlanta’s number 2 morning show (Thompson), who struggles to balance his job and his young daughters despite all the “help” he gets from his father-in-law (Don Johnson) and his brother/assistant/manager/house guest (Chris Redd). Thompson has recent experience in the guest judging domain, having joined “The Masked Singer” panel of judges for a couple of episodes last year.

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