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Simon Cowell's New Series Debuts

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A Surly British Judge, and Producer, TooSimon Cowell unleashed yet another TV talent contest on viewers last night as his much-anticipated America's Got Talent debuted on NBC.

The American Idol judge is producing the show with the same company that puts on his FOX singfest. He's the behind-the-scenes presence this time around, though, as Regis Philbin hosts and a panel of stars (probably lower-level stars these days than Simon himself) serves as judges.

Cowell's contract with American Idol prohibits him from appearing on competing shows, but America's Got Talent follows the same formula as the wildly-successful Idol, with audition rounds conducted in four cities followed by public voting and eliminations beginning next month for a million-dollar prize.

NBC apparently has so much faith in Cowell and company that it's already booked Talen" for the winter, the same route that Idol took.

It will be featured in NBC's Sunday lineup after football season, meaning Cowell will have his fingers in the TV pie 4-5 nights a week when Idol comes back to Fox for a sixth season in January.

What kind of talent is Simon looking for on this NBC series? Singers, dancers, comedic performers, unique novelty acts... pretty much anything.

The Washington Post reported that in a phone conference interview, Cowell promised viewers would see a guy balance a 300-pound oven on his face... while frying eggs on it. Let's see Taylor Hicks do that!

Gimmicky as it sounds, the formula -- like Idol -- calls for the judges to ridicule people willing to embarrass themselves in the early rounds, before the serious contenders steal the show late in the season.

Hasselhoff Returns to TVThe judges are singer/actor Brandy, David Hasselhoff (really, right), and Piers Morgan, a former newspaper editor and British TV host. A Cowell stand-in?

There's certainly nothing new about talent shows, which can be traced to medieval street fairs, Star Search, and many other variations. But Simon and production company Fremantle Media, along with his ex-partner and Idol creator, Simon Fuller, have put a new spin on the old idea.

With stagy techniques, a PR blitz, a witty host, and judges that are as much a part of the show as the acts, it won't be surprising if the show takes off.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Greetings Very good web site. I loved it. Found invaluable information. Just what I was looking for :-)

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America`s got talent was not what i was looking for from Simon cowell. Don`t get me wrong the show was good but it was`nt really ezxiting as they said it would be for a new reality. I mean i was expecting the show to be mindblowing and breathtaking but sorry this show has none of the two. I can`t wait to simon cowell new show come on this fall because this show was not what I was expecting for simon cowell. america idol will be soon to start in 2006 and i hope it was mindblowing like last season when taylor hicks was crowned america idol!

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'america's got talent', which as many have joked, should have a question mark after the title, he he, is pretty good although it verges on 'the gong show' sometimes. (as we know, chuck barris said he and his crew originally were going to do a serious talent show, but then had so many bad acts and not that many good, so had a joke program instead!) but anyhow, do we notice a trend in titles here, 'AMERICAN idol', 'AMERICAN inventor', 'AMERICA'S got talent'? perhaps simon thinks that is the key to a hit, similarity in names, lol?
back to the show. now, i don't know who i LOVE that much, but i know who i HATE, 'RAPPING GRANNY'! gee i hope AMERICA doesn't love her as much as the 3 judges do, YUCK! she went into it to prove to her son that ANYBODY could do it,and she DID, but it still sucks just like it all does! sorry for being so harsh, but as you can guess, i HATE, HATE, HATE rap with a passion and ANYBODY who does it, OLD or YOUNG, black or white, should do something else. how i wish white folks would LEAVE IT ALONE, and let blacks have it back to themselves. white guys, you who BLAST RAP from your cars and think you're cool, YOU'RE NOT! you aren't tough and you aren't ghetto and urban and it ISN'T FOR YOU. all you have succeeded in doing is making many EX DRUG DEALERS RICH ON RAP so they can leave (if they do) the narcotics business. of course there are a LOT of pretenders, rich kids acting like they are from the projects, but anyways, LET RAP DIE or at least LET IT SHRINK BACK TO A CULT OF BLACK KIDS so they can relate their life experiences to a LIMITED audience, please. you are missing out on REAL MUSIC you could be dancing and romancing to, and that UPLIFTS you. rap is just 'BAD POETRY SET TO SOMEBODY ELSES MUSIC', as they say!

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