Let's just set the record straight.
I'm normally not a fan of reality TV. I've watched exactly one season of Survivbor (Colby was a moron) and one season of American Idol (Clay was robbed).
Otherwise, I like my television (acknowledged to be) scripted.
So imagine my surprise last summer when I got totally into America's Got Talent.
Sure, I'd seen AGT before. In its early stages with Jerry Springer as a host and the Hoff as a judge it was a pop culture train wreck. Now, with the surprisingly capable and engaging Nick Cannon hosting and Howie Mandel delivering surprisingly astute criticism, it was like a different show,
AGT became summertime appointment viewing for my family. We even watched it on vacation last summer.
I wasn't sure what the addition of Howard Stern would do to the show this season, but I'm glad to report that Stern has made AGT better. His criticism is dead on. His eye for talent is unerring. His predictions have been spot on.
Still, at the end of the day, what makes AGT work is the talent. And, unlike the glorified karaoke competitions that glut the airwaves, AGT showcases the true breadth of talent in America. Sure, there are singers, but there are also comedians, jugglers, magicians and animal acts.
AGT is really a return to the variety shows of old.
Somewhere Ed Sullivan is laughing his ass off.
The current season of AGT is airing now on NBC. Check your local listings.