Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Another reality show from the Simon Cowell production factory, America's Got Talent drew that talent from all over the United States, with amateur variety performers ranging from children to grannies competed for a one-million-dollar cash prize. There were of course resemblances to Cowell's own starrer American Idol, including a three-person panel of judges: actor David Hasselhoff, singer Brandy, and the inevitable, British-born "Simon Cowell clone," the acerbic Piers Morgan (who was even more opinionated and obstreperous than his role model, if such a thing was possible). There were also echoes of the late, unlamented comedy talent contest The Gong Show, with silly sound effects accompanying the judges' scoring process, and several contestants who were obviously selected because they were either grotesquely untalented or just plain ridiculous. Hosted by Regis Philbin, America's Got Talent made its NBC debut on June 21, 2006.