photo: NBCAfter cryptically tweeting recently that she was ready to quit "America's Got Talent," Sharon Osbourne officially announced her resignation from "AGT" this week, after a seven-season run. While at first fans might have assumed that she was leaving due to some sort of feud with new judge Howard Stern, it turns out her feud is actually with NBC executives, over what she claims was discrimination against her ailing son, Jack. And now Sharon has made her war with the network public, via a slew of typically outspoken, scathing comments to The New York Post. It seems hell hath no fury like a mama Osbourne scorned.
Sharon's above-mentioned eyebrow-raising tweet was directed at "my darling" Howard Stern, claiming that "money [was] not the reason" for her seemingly sudden departure--thus sparking speculation that she and Howard were at odds. However, Sharon finally revealed to The Post this week that she is quitting because "AGT's" network, NBC, allegedly fired Jack from the new reality series "Stars Earn Stripes" (on which celebrities are put through grueling military exercises) after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis earlier this year.
"I just can't be fake," Sharon explained. "It's discrimination, and it was badly handled. It's time to move on."
NBC producer David Hurwitz has denied these claims, saying Jack was merely "in talks" to be on "Stars Earn Stripes" and never signed a contract; Sharon insists that Jack had a verbal agreement with the show that was reneged after his MS diagnosis was made public.
Jack has admitted himself that he did not sign the contract, but Sharon says her son received an email from Chuck LaBella, NBC's Vice President of Talent Relations, saying: "We are looking forward to working with you. I am happy you are going to be in the NBC family." Then, just two days before Jack was supposed to start filming the show, he allegedly received another email saying, "Regretfully, we cannot move forward with Jack's participation."
Sharon angrily told The Post, "He didn't want the money. He wanted his gig. It gave him something to look forward to when he was diagnosed. Think of the good that it could have done to show other people who have this [condition] that your life is not over."
So now Sharon has decided to leave "AGT," even if she is penalized for breaking her own contract. "All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years," she stated to The Post.
Honestly, I do not think this is a huge loss for "America's Got Talent," since I never thought Sharon brought much to the table as an "AGT" judge anyway. Yes, the First Lady Of Rock was a hoot on "The Osbournes," "Celebrity Apprentice," and even "Rock Of Love Charm School," but she lost all her rock 'n' roll edge and cred on "AGT," mainly because she tended to vote pretty much anyone through. (She seriously never met an animal act or cute kiddie singer she didn't like.) Considering that Sharon is a true music mogul, a visionary lady who singlehandedly revived her future husband Ozzy Osbourne's career after his exile from Black Sabbath and later managed legends like Motörhead and Smashing Pumpkins--and that she was a pretty decent judge on the British version of "The X Factor"--it's genuinely surprising how ineffectual she was as a judge on "America's Got Talent." Perhaps her heart was never it, or she lost her judging mojo long ago.
However, if what Sharon is claiming is true, then it's totally understandable, and commendable, that her heart would no longer be in it now--and I totally applaud her decision to stick by her guns, and by her family. To loosely quote one of Ozzy's songs, the Osbournes' mama is coming home, and it seems like the right thing to do.
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