NBC has named popular talk show host Jerry Springer (The Jerry Springer Show) as the new host of America's Got Talent, when the hit variety-talent competition series returns to the network line-up this summer.

The announcement was made today by Craig Plestis, Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment.

"Jerry Springer is the perfect ringmaster to harness all the incredibly diverse talent of America's Got Talent under one big tent," said Plestis. "To say the least, he is known for presiding over an unpredictable show where the unexpected is the typical order of each day."

Added series' executive producer, Simon Cowell, "I am absolutely thrilled that Jerry has agreed to host the next season of our show for a number of reasons, he is the perfect person for this show. I wish him (and he is going to need it!) the best of luck."

"I've been around some of America's most talented individuals on my talk show for the last 16 years, so I'll feel right at home hosting America's Got Talent, said Springer. "I love the show and look forward to discovering the best performers from across the country."

Bringing the variety format back to the forefront of American culture, America's Got Talent showcases the hottest performers from across the country, with the winner being chosen by the television viewing audience. Each week, the show features a colorful array of hopeful future stars -- singers, dancers, comedic performers and unique acts of all ages who have a chance to strut and perform in front of a panel of celebrity judges. For information on auditions for the new season, go to www.nbc.com/Americas_Got_Talent.

Springer is currently in his 16th season of hosting NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution's hit talk show The Jerry Springer Show. Throughout his varied career, Springer has become a cultural and civic icon. In addition to talk-show host, he has been mayor of Cincinnati, political pundit, lawyer, award-winning newscaster, country recording artist, international emcee, television personality, movie star, Broadway actor and progressive talk-radio broadcaster.

Earlier this season, Springer added ballroom dancing to his list of accomplishments as he joined the cast of the hugely popular television series Dancing with the Stars. The multi-faceted Springer, who has a passion for politics, was named Ohio Democrat of the Year, and represented Ohio as Delegate-at-Large for the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Today, because of the lasting popularity of his talk show, Springer is a favorite guest speaker throughout college campuses in the U.S. In recent years, Springer was welcomed at Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern, the University of Miami, University of Southern California, San Francisco State, Emory University, George Washington University, American University, and his undergraduate alma mater, Tulane University.

"Ringmaster," penned by Springer, hit bookstore shelves in November 1998 and was a personal account of his experiences along with remembrances from his childhood and professional career. Also in November 1998, Springer made his first venture into feature films, starring in Ringmaster, a fictionalized movie chronicling his television talk show. In 1999, Springer worked with Mike Myers, where he portrayed himself in the hit film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Springer also has graced the covers of Rolling Stone, Esquire, New York Magazine and Sarasota Magazine and was featured in Vanity Fair's "Vanities." Barbara Walters chose Springer as one of the10 Most Fascinating People in her 1998 Special. Springer has twice served as the master of ceremonies for the Miss World Pageant and added a Broadway appearance to his distinguished list of achievements, starring for a week in the production of "The Rocky Horror Show Live."

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