Premiering in 2006, America's Got Talent (also known as AGT) is an American reality television series on NBC. The show was developed with the help of Simon Cowell but due to Idol and Fox obligations, he has never judged. The show is a talent competition has no restrictions to age or act with the main focus on whether or not it was entertaining, providing for sometimes untalented but hilarious acts getting through. It is broken down into three main rounds with cuts constantly happening. The acts first compete on stage in front of an audience and the 3(4) judges. Each judge has a loud 'X' buzzer they can press if they feel an act is not meeting expectations. If an act gets all the judges to buzz it is immediately over and they are out of the competition. These remain active through-out the show, but during later rounds frequently get used.
It starts off with auditions week held across the country where acts have roughly 90 seconds to impress the judges and an arena audience. Following each act the judges quickly vote and majority rules if they go to the next round or cut on the spot. Following auditions week the show and accepted acts move to Vegas where the acts perform again, only this time in front of only the judges and no audience. Following Vegas week the judges cut the competition aggressively to 48 acts to move onto the next, most important, round. The 48 acts chosen go onto the live quarter-finals in various cities to compete on live television for the audiences vote as the power now shifts away from the judges. There are 4 quarter finals with 12 acts performing each week (4 advance each), followed by two semi finals (4 advance each) followed by the final where the winner is declared. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000,000 and a chance for their own show in Vegas.
Recent seasons have implemented a YouTube week where the judges will select from online YouTube submissions and a few lucky acts will be chosen to perform live at the end of the quarter finals with a chance to move to the semi finals as extra wild card spots.
AGT is now on it's seventh season (2012) and had numerous casting changes.
Hosts in order of appearance:
Season 1 (2006) - Regis Philbin
Season 2-3 (2007-08) - Jerry Springer
Season 4-7 (2009-2012) Nick Cannon.
Judges in order of appearance:
Season 1 (2006) - Brandy Norwood, David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan
Season 2-4 (2007-09) - Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan
Season 5-6 (2010-11) - Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel, Piers Morgan
Season 7 (2012) - Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel, Howard Stern