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'America's Got Talent' hires Tyra Banks as new host to replace Nick Cannon


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/13/2017 

America's Got Talent has officially signed on Tyra Banks as its new host.

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NBC has announced the 43-year-old former America's Next Top Model host will be replacing Nick Cannon as host of America's Got Talent's upcoming twelfth season.

Banks hosted Top Model for over a decade and still remains an executive producer on the series. She previously headlined her own daytime talk show and also recently launched the successful TYRA Beauty cosmetics line.

"Since I was a little girl, I've been obsessed with grandiose acts and performers who make the seemingly impossible possible. I love how AGT brings that feeling into everyone's home, capturing the best of people who come out and give it their all to make those big, fierce and outrageous dreams come true," Banks said in a statement.

"I look forward to connecting with the dreamers, having fun and giving hugs and words of encouragement when needed. And maybe I'll get one or two performers to smize for the audience!"

"Smize" refers to Banks' signature phrase from Top Model, which means smiling with one's eyes in order to appear awake, alive and focused in photographs.

"Tyra is the complete package: Out-of-this-world talented, funny, brilliant and all heart. In whatever she has done, she has always connected with audiences around the world," NBC President Paul Telegdy said. "Her vivacious spirit will infuse AGT in a big way."

"Welcome to the America's Got Talent family, Tyra! This is really exciting," said AGT judge Simon Cowell, who created the show's format.

Fellow AGT judge Howie Mandel took to Twitter to also ask fans to welcome Banks to the show, but neither of the other two judges, Heidi Klum and Melanie "Mel B" Brown, made a statement.

The announcement of Banks' participation on the Summer 2017 edition of America's Got Talent comes several days after TMZ reported actor Brandon Mychal Smith was close to finalizing a deal to host the show and about a month after Cannon insisted he was done with AGT after feeling he was "publicly reprimanded and ridiculed" by his network bosses over a joke made in a recent TV comedy special on Showtime.

Cannon, 36, said in a statement last month his decision to leave the reality talent competition "hurts tremendously" but needed to be done in order to maintain his self respect since he was being "punished for a joke" and therefore "threatened with termination."

"NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand... I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn't have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property. There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity," Cannon explained.

Cannon's joke that allegedly "disparaged" the NBC brand has not been confirmed; however, he claimed in the "Stand Up, Don't Shoot" comedy special that hosting America's Got Talent stole his "real n--ger card" and hurt his credibility in the black community.

Cannon hosted eight editions of America's Got Talent beginning in Season 4 and the network allegedly wasn't thrilled about his choice to quit. Before he joined the popular series, Regis Philbin hosted Season 1 and Jerry Springer hosted Seasons 2 and 3.

America's Got Talent returns to Los Angeles this summer with live shows filmed inside the Dolby Theatre. Cowell, Mandel, Klum and Brown are all returning to the judging panel for the show's twelfth edition.

Teen singing sensation Grace VanderWaal won Season 11 of the show last year.


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