Late last month, we learned that Sharon Osbourne was planning on leaving America's Got Talent, after she posted a tweet saying as much, though the specific reason at that time was undisclosed. Reports today are linking Osbourne's decision to depart AGT with an issue involving her son's planned involvement in another NBC series.
NY Post got the story, stating that Sharon Osbourne is "fuming" over how NBC decided not to allow her son Jack Osbourne to participate in their upcoming celebrity reality series Stars Earn Stripes due to his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The series, which premieres later this month, will have various celebrities competing against one another with events that involve military-style training. Jack was reportedly sent an email two days before he was supposed to start work for the show, telling him he was fired. His mother Sharon Osbourne says it's discrimination.
"I just can’t be fake," she said. "It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled."
The Post implies that this is the reason Sharon Osbourne has decided not to return to AGT next summer. She Tweeted a partial statement on the matter last month, stating, "My darling @HowardStern, money is not the reason I'm not returning to @nbcagt, it's because…" but leaving the remainder of the statement unspoken.
Though she's still technically under contract for AGT, Osbourne says they can't force her to stay. "All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years."
It's possible that the concern over insurance issues may have resulted in NBC deciding not to include Osbourne in Stars Earn Stripes, though the Post says Jack Osbourne offered to purchase his own insurance policy and the producers declined. The site also quotes Stars Earns Stripes producer David Hurwitz as saying "The rigors of the show were too intense for him." It's unclear where that determination came from though, but Hurwitz claims Jack was never hired to begin with, just that they were in talks to hire him. The Osbournes reportedly confirmed that no formal contract was signed but that they were moving forward in good-faith with a verbal commitment. The Post doesn't mention if Jack has or is going to take legal action against NBC over this, but his mother's comment about this being discrimination does make me wonder if we might hear word of that.
As for Osbourne, while she will no doubt be missed on AGT, it isn't difficult to see where she's coming from. From what she says, an NBC executive offered to give Jack the fee he would have received for appearing in the show, but for him, it's not about the money. "He wanted his gig. It gave him something to look forward to when he was diagnosed." Put that way, her frustation and anger is understandable. And she just so happens to be in a position to do something about it. She may not be able to get her son on the show (it premieres August 13, so it's too late for that), but leaving AGT would show support and solidarity.