NBC is not going to let the story about Sharon Osbourne leaving “America’s Got Talent” blow up all over them without getting in their two cents. As you may have heard already, the show’s longtime judge is upset over what she feels is the “unfair” decision to not cast her son Jack in the new reality series “Stars Earn Stripes” (which premieres on Monday night) due to his multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
In a new statement, the network’s programming head Robert Greenblatt does not actually deny that Osbourne’s illness played a role in their casting, but he does claim that there were other opportunities presented to him as alternatives:
“We hold medical information in strict confidence and therefore cannot comment specifically about Jack, but as a company that cares deeply about the health and safety of everyone on our shows — especially one like ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ that requires dangerous water stunts, strenuous physical activity, and uses live ammunition — we required all potential participants to undergo medical vetting to ensure that they could safely participate.
“Although we did not ask Jack to participate in the competition, we were able to offer him two substantial alternative roles on the show, both of which he declined. This network does not discriminate on any basis.”
There is one element to this story that is particularly curious — why is all of this being done a week before the show premieres? These casting decisions were actually made earlier this year, but we are only just hearing about Osbourne’s dissatisfaction now as the series gets set to premiere. You could claim that this is a move to really hurt “Stars Earn Stripes,” but it doesn’t really feel that way so much as it was just a natural progression of things — Sharon has expressed a desire to leave “America’s Got Talent” after this season for weeks, and i was only recently that she had a chance to go more in-depth about it.
Do you buy Greenblatt’s explanation for the Jack Osbourne incident, or do you think that this should have been the young man’s decision to make rather than the network’s? Be sure to share some of your thoughts below, and you can read up about Sharon’s recent comments over at this link.