Beloved Modern Family star Sofia Vergara will join NBC's hit summer talent search series America's Got Talent as a judge for Season 15, TV Guide has learned. She'll be joined by Heidi Klum, who returns after a one-season hiatus. Executive producer Simon Cowell will also come back to the show as a judge as will comedian Howie Mandel. Terry Crews will remain the host.
Vergara and Klum are taking over the judge seats left open by Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, who officially exited the show in November under some controversial circumstances. The firing of Union was especially problematic because, as Variety reported at the time, the actress had complained of a toxic culture and had been criticized by her bosses for wearing hairstyles that were considered "too black." Union had also spoken out against guest judge Jay Leno, for making a disparaging joke against Asians.
Paul Telegdy, chairman of NBC Entertainment, told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January that the network's investigation into Union's firing would be wrapped up by the end of that month. But if it has been concluded, the results of the investigation have not been made public as of yet.
As for Vergara, she has earned four Emmy nominations for her 11-season turn as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC's hit comedy Modern Family. The sitcom, which highlights the hijinks of a blended brood in Southern California, is coming to an end in May. And Klum, a supermodel and fashion icon, has been working as a judge on the franchise spinoff America's Got Talent: The Champions. Klum is also a judge and co-host on the new Amazon fashion designer competition series Making the Cut. Tim Gunn is a also hosting the show, which premieres March 27.
America's Got Talent, Season 15, premieres this summer on NBC.