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'America's Got Talent' picks a winner, plus Howard Stern's departure

'Talent' judge Stern announced that he would be leaving the NBC show. Meanwhile, a new winner of the talent competition was crowned.

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    Howard Stern has served as a judge on 'America's Got Talent.'
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A new champion was crowned on the NBC program “America’s Got Talent” and a judge departed the reality competition.

Paul Zerdin, who is a ventriloquist, won the tenth season of the show. As a prize, Zerdin will be part of a show titled “America’s Got Talent Live” in Las Vegas that will run in October. 

Judges on the show this season were model Heidi Klum, former Spice Girls member Mel B, Nick Cannon, actor Howie Mandel, and radio talk show host Howard Stern. During the season finale of the show, Stern expressed his thoughts on leaving the show after appearing on it for the last several seasons. Stern announced this past summer that he would be leaving the show. 

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“If I had any dream about this, it’s that I could take someone who was struggling and seriously give advice,” he said. “I was told over and over again that I had no talent. I was in college radio. No one was banking on me.”

Stern is best known for his radio program, which most recently migrated to Sirius XM.

“Talent” debuted in 2006 with Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoff, and Brandy Norwood as judges. Sharon Osbourne has also served as a judge and the hosts on the program have changed as well, with celebrities including Jerry Springer and Regis Philbin emceeing the show before current host Nick Cannon took the job. 

Does frequent judge turnover hurt a reality series?

Those who watch other reality competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice” are no stranger to seeing different faces in the judging chairs. “Idol” had a famous lineup of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson before a fourth judge, Kara DioGuardi, was added. DioGuardi soon departed and with Abdul’s departure as well, the original group was broken up. Other celebrities who have cycled in and out since then include Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Ellen DeGeneres. The approaching season of “Idol” is reportedly the program’s last. 

Another singing competition, NBC’s “The Voice,” has had different judges as well, but many who left have returned later on, keeping more of a feeling of continuity. Judges like Christina Aguilera, Usher, and Shakira have departed for a season but have returned later on for another iteration. This approach seems realistic. If NBC wants to attract superstars as judges, the network needs to understand they’ll have other commitments at times. 

Meanwhile, another reality competition that’s winning in the ratings along with “Voice” is ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” The judge lineup for “Dancing” has stayed mostly the same, with the show recently adding a fourth judge, former contestant Julianne Hough, to its judge lineup, and it was only for this current season that judge Len Goodman departed. Original judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli are still there.

It’s hard to preserve a judging lineup, but “Voice” and “Dancing” seemed to have had the most luck with it, either keeping the lineup mostly the same or having a revolving-door feel where viewers think there’s still a chance they may see a favorite departed judge return. As “Talent” revamps its judging lineup, those behind the scenes may do well to look to “Voice” and “Dancing” for tips on how to assemble one.

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