Howie Mandel’s Hasselhoff ‘Talent’ Replacement Plan: Burgers & Booze

Howie Mandel on America's Got Talent (NBC)

Howie Mandel on America's Got Talent (NBC)

David Hasselhoff, who spent time in a L.A. hospital last weekend for what a tabloid reports is an ongoing alcohol problem, is something of a punchline as an ex-judge on this season of ‘America’s Got Talent.’

“I was sitting last night, eating burgers and drinking vodka with the kids,” Howie Mandel jokes of comparing himself to the exiting Hasselhoff as the third judge on NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent,’ which premieres June 1. “I guess you guys will compare me.”

Hasselhoff, who has talked publicly of his alcoholism, notoriously appeared in an embarrassing home video, apparently inebriated and scarfing burgers, shot by his 17-year-old daughter in 2007.

Mandel fills a judge’s seat that has shifted several times.

"When we hit the buzzer, they have those giant x's with our names, above the stage," Mandel says. "Those are shipped all over the world in these giant crates. The first day of work, I saw the giant crates. They had all three. You see Piers Morgan, a giant crate with his name on it. Further down the hall, I saw the next giant crate, Sharon Osbourne. Then I saw the third crate, like 'Oh my God.' It says Brandy, and it's crossed off. Then it says David, and it's crossed off. Then in Sharpie, it says Howie."

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Mandel jokes of the short-lived stay of Brandy, who judged season 1 in 2006, “I am the new Brandy.”

Hasselhoff is reportedly planning a reality show with his daughter, Hayley, who also stars in ABC’s summer show ‘Huge,’ and other family.

Piers Morgan, speaking alongside Mandel this week, was more deferential to Hasselhoff, calling him a personal friend.

"We all miss David. He's a fantastic character," Morgan says. "He's a complete one-off, I've never met anyone like him. I consider him to be a good friend of mine. He wanted to leave the show to do his own show, which he is now doing and exciting for him. I miss the noise. I miss the craziness. I miss the shouting. I miss the occasional threats of of physical violence to my personage. I miss the whole circus that comes with David Hasselhoff. I mean that in a good way. He's like the circus. I called him 'Breaking News Hoff.' Every day I would see him, he would be the subject of breaking news on 'Access Hollywood.'"

Morgan adds, "Although I miss David on a personal level, I think Howie has completed the show. He was a massively big fan of the show anyway. I think he's fit in very quickly, which he made a point of. He's incredibly entertaining on the show, in a very different way than David."

Morgan also notes, “I didn’t think anyone could be more annoying than David Hasselhoff, but Howie Mandel is.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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