Simon Cowell will not participate in this week's live episodes of America's Got Talent after he was hospitalized Saturday after a scary bike accident in Malibu, California. The NBC reality competition series is set to resume after being on hold this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cowell, 60, was operated on overnight after breaking his back in a number of places.
Cowell's surgery lasted six hours and included several procedures and fusions. He needed a metal rod inserted in his back, Entertainment Tonight reported. As a result, Cowell will miss both Tuesday and Wednesday's new episodes of America's Got Talent. Cowell will spend the next few days in the hospital, and his doctors consider him very lucky the injury was not worse.
"Simon has broken his back in a number of places in a fall from his bike whilst testing a new electric bike in the courtyard of his home in Malibu with his family," Cowell's representative said in a statement. "He was taken to hospital where they operated overnight (Saturday). He's under observation and is doing fine." Earlier, Cowell's rep said the accident happened when he fell from the new electric bike the former American Idol judge was testing. At the time of the accident, his partner Laura Silverman's son Adam and 6-year-old Eric, Cowell's son with Silverman, were with him.
On Sunday, a source close to Cowell told The Mirror Cowell missing breaking his spinal cord "by a centimeter," which would have paralyzed him. The source spoke with Cowell before his surgery and said he was in "incredible, ridiculous amounts of pain and is in shock." According to the source, Cowell "fell flat on his back" and the surgery lasted six hours. "He is recovering in hospital now and we expect him to be there for a few days and then he will take things from there," the source said.
Last week, NBC confirmed AGT would return for live shows following a long break due to the pandemic. The live shows will return with Archie Williams, Bello & Annaliese Nock, Divas & Drummers of Compton, Double Dragon, Feng E, FrenchieBabyy, Michael Yo, Pork Chop Revue, Golden Buzzer Roberta Battaglia, Shaquira McGrath, and Simon and Maria performing. There will also be new acts introduced who auditioned online during Los Angeles' stay-at-home orders.
It is not known if NBC will pick a celebrity judge to replace Cowell at such short notice. During the taped audition process, Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet sat in for Heidi Klum when she was ill. The other judges on this season are Howie Mandell and Sofia Vergara, with Terry Crews hosting. New episodes air Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.