So it seems that even in the midst of a blissful hiatus from the barrel of overblown hi-jinks known as America’s Got Talent no one can be free of their particular brand of malarkey.  As you might recall, a few weeks ago Sharon tweeted about her impending departure, only to brush it off as a joke at a press junket for AGT the next day.  However the situation has become no laughing matter as Sharon issued her resignation yesterday, motivated by her claims that NBC fired her son, Jack Osboune, from the show Stars Earn Stripes because of his recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

While Sharon agrees that a contract had not been signed, she insists all parties were operating under a verbal understanding.  She also cites an email Jack received from NBC’s Vice President of Talent Relations, Chuck La Bella, welcoming Jack to the NBC family as evidence.  Mere days before Jack was scheduled to report for work–and only days after Jack’s diagnosis was revealed–Sharon herself received another email stating, “Regretfully we cannot move forward with Jack’s participation.”  Predictably the turn of events did not sit well Mama Osbourne.  “It’s discrimination and it was badly handled,” Sharon said in an interview with The New York Post.

Not to be outdone, NBC has thrown it’s hat into the ring of controversy.  Stars Earn Stripes producer David Hurtwiz asserts that Jack was merely someone the show was “in talks with.”  While that might be true Hurtwiz also claimed, “The rigors of the show were too intense for him.”  In effort to quench any possible backlash, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt supported Hurtwiz’s claims in his statement: “Although we did not ask Jack to participate in the competition, we were able to offer him two substantial alternative roles on the show, both of which he declined.  This network does not discriminate on any basis.”  To which Osbourne had already made comment: “He didn’t want the money.  He wanted his gig.  It gave him something to look forward to when he was diagnosed.  Think of the good that it could have done to show other people that have this [condition] that your life is not over.”

That kind of he-said-she-said can continue to volley back and forth, but it matters not.  Both sides confirmed that no contract had been signed, so no official breach of contract can be claimed.  Even with that technicality in their corner, this turn of events doesn’t paint the network in a good light.  Whether the competition would have been too much for Jack, or whether the studio was just trying to cover itself isn’t something that can be guessed.  Regardless, the whole thing could leave the network’s highest rated summer series without a judge.

Even after all the drama, it’s yet to be seen how Sharon will get of her responsibilities to America’s Got Talent considering she’s still under contract.  However, since this wouldn’t be the first time a contract has been broken, another new face at the judges table might be a real possibility.  And considering the ratings, it might be for the best.  While Howard Stern has become a fan favorite during his first season on AGT, his post as “Judge Howard Stern” didn’t rally new viewers the way the network expected when he took over for Piers Morgan.  Can Stern be blamed and his expensive salary lampooned?  Not really.  The show is still the networks highest rated summer program, but with the market flooded with reality TV competition shows, the novelty of the genre seems to have worn off. 

One thing is for sure, finding a replacement will be nothing new for the show’s creator and executive producer Simon Cowell.  After a double digits ratings dip Mariah Carey recently filled Jennifer Lopez’s shoes on American Idol, and the jury is still out on who will be replacing Steven Tyler.  As for The X Factor, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato replaced Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger; judging reality talent competitions has become a game of celebrity musical chairs.

So who should replace Sharon?  Usher?  Madonna?  Someone else that only goes by only one name? Who knows.  You can be sure though that yours truly will be watching for any discomfort when America’s Got Talent returns from its midsummer hiatus next Tuesday night.  Until then, for one last night say it with me friends , U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.!