Cowell has not judged on an American talent show series in almost two years

By Aurelie Corinthios
Updated October 22, 2015 10:25 AM
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Simon Cowell is coming back to this side of the pond.

After a two-year hiatus from American television, Cowell has signed on as a judge on next season of America’s Got Talent.

During an appearance on the Today show on Thursday, Cowell said “it was the network’s decision,” though he admitted to doing some prodding of his own.

“I kept sort of popping my head up, saying: ‘You know, if you are looking for a very good-looking British judge who could sort of fit on this show, I know someone!’ ” he said.

Cowell has made a name for himself as the ultimate say-it-like-it-is judge on American Idol, The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, and though he co-created the American version of the talent show, season 11 will mark the first time he’ll be taking the judge’s seat on the popular U.S. series.

“I think the America’s Got Talent show honestly is one of the best talent shows in the world,” Cowell said Thursday. “I mean, I watch it back and it’s like, ‘Woah, this is a really good show.’ ”

Plus, he has a good track record with the franchise, as Cowell added that Britain’s Got Talent “has been probably the most fun job” he’s ever had in his life.

When asked if viewers can expect a kinder critic now that Cowell is father to son Eric, almost 2, Cowell gave a classic response: “If they’re good, yes. If they’re terrible, no,” he said. “I can’t sit in front of someone who is useless and say: ‘Take a couple of singing lessons and everything will be fine.’ ”

Cowell will be replacing Howard Stern as a judge, who had actually suggested Cowell as a good fit for the show.

Stern signed off during the season 10 finale of the NBC show in September after four seasons.