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Howie Mandel will be back in his judge’s chair when America’s Got Talent starts taping again on March 4th. He will be re-joining returning judge Howard Stern on the panel, but the talent competition series is still down a judge with only a few weeks left to go before the eighth season goes into production.

Stern confirmed his second season on America’s Got Talent back in December, months after the news that Sharon Osbourne would not be coming back to the show. Osborne’s decision to leave the show seems to have been linked to another NBC program on which Osbourne’s son was scheduled to appear, Stars Earn Stripes. The controversial show stirred up more trouble when Jack was fired from the show due to having Multiple Sclerosis. Reports at the time were that Sharon was leaving because of the network’s discrimination against her son.

So while Sharon Osbourne is definitely out, Howie Mandel is most definitely in, marking his fourth season on the judges panel. He revealed the news on Access Hollywood to Howard Stern over the phone, and quipped that Stern replied with “Who is this?”

That sets two of the judges, but there’s still no replacement for Osbourne. With taping about to start, I expect we will hear news on the replacement soon, and I would anticipate that she will be replaced by another female judge in an effort to keep things balanced on the panel. Perhaps one of the many names that were thrown around for the empty judges chairs on The X Factor and American Idol might find themselves in contention?