NBC released the first photo of America's Got Talent Season 15 judges, with Modern Family star Sofia Vergara on the panel for the first time. The four-time Emmy nominated actress officially joined the show last week, following months of rumors. Vergara and returning judge Heidi Klum are replacing Season 14 judges Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union.
The new photo shows Vergara sitting between Klum and Simon Cowell, with Howie Mandel at the other end of the table. Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews, who is returning as host, is seen behind the four, with his massive arms outstretched.
NBC announced Klum and Vergara would be joining the show for Season 15 on Thursday. Klum took Season 14 off, but returned to the AGT fold for the recently-completed second season of America's Got Talent: The Champions.
"I'm so excited to be back at AGT with Simon, Howie and Terry," Klum said in a statement last week. "The fact that Sofia Vergara is joining us is the icing on an already delicious cake."
"Sofia's infectious energy and sharp wit will blend perfectly with returning favorites Heidi, Simon, Howie, and Terry," Meredith Ahr, President, Alternative & Reality Group, NBC Entertainment, added. "As both a respected actress and successful entrepreneur, she embodies the American dream that is synonymous with AGT's transformative stage."
This will be Vergara's first time acting as a judge on a competition series, and AGT is her first gig since finishing up Modern Family. Vergara has played Gloria Delgado-Pritchett for all 11 seasons of the ABC sitcom, which comes to an end in April.
"I am so happy to join my new family on [AGT]," Vergara wrote on Instagram last week. "This is a new and exciting next chapter for me and I'm extremely proud to be the first Latin judge on the show. I can't wait to watch all the new talent and have fun with all you guys!"
Vergara's arrival at the show comes at a controversial time for the series. Last fall, NBC and series producer Fremantle chose to not bring Hough and Union back after only one season, even though they both signed multi-year deals. It was later reported that Union complained about a "toxic" work environment and NBC launched an investigation. Union and NBC had a 5-hour meeting in December about her allegations.
"We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday," the actress tweeted on Dec. 4. "I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change."
America's Got Talent is expected to return in the summer.
Photo credit: Trae Patton/NBC