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Simon Cowell joining 'America's Got Talent'

Simon Cowell, left, judges with Ellen DeGeneres, Kara

Simon Cowell, left, judges with Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson in the ninth season of "American Idol." Photo Credit: FOX

Simon Cowell is joining "America's Got Talent" as a judge ...

Welcome to your Thursday morning surprise announcement.

The quote: 

“I am really thrilled to be joining ‘America’s Got Talent’ next season,” said Cowell. “What I love about this show is that it’s open to absolutely anyone. America has some fantastic talent just waiting to be discovered, and I would like that talent to come to our show, including any dogs who can sing!"

In a sense, this will essentially be going from behind the camera to in front -- Cowell is executive producer of this show, an adaptation of his British hit, "Britain's Got Talent," which he also judges and produces.

He is replacing Howard Stern, who left at the end of last season. 

But a "surprise"? Well, not entirely, when you stop to think about it: This is what Simon does, after all, and his run at "Britain's Got Talent" has been a success: Nine seasons old and maybe even a star or two created. 

"AGT" is a considerable success for NBC too: A summer fixture that's all Velveeta and which can be compulsively watchable in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Cowell brings an edge, but possibly not the edge he brought to "American Idol;" his British TV persona is markedly nicer, or at least less brutal, than his "American Idol" one. 

He joins, coincidentally, just as "Idol" leaves the air next year. 

Here's the "Today Show" link, where the announcement was made. 


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