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Sofia Vergara joins 'America's Got Talent' as judge, Heidi Klum also to return

The "Modern Family" star will join the star-studded panel alongside returning judge Heidi Klum.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Alexander Kacala

On Thursday, NBC announced actress Sofia Vergara will be joining “America’s Got Talent” as a new judge for the show's 15th season. The "Modern Family" star will join the star-studded panel alongside returning judge Heidi Klum.

Both Simon Cowell, who also produces the popular talent competition show, and comedian Howie Mandel will return. Host Terry Crews is also slated to return for the upcoming season.

Heidi Klum returns to judge the 15th season of "America's Got Talent."Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Klum, who’s currently a judge on “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” comes back to the “AGT” stage after serving as a judge on seasons eight through 13.

“I’m so excited to be back at ‘AGT’ with Simon, Howie and Terry. The fact that Sofia Vergara is joining us is the icing on an already delicious cake,” Klum said in a statement.

Thursday night, Vergara took to Instagram to share her excitement.

"I am so happy to join my new family on @agt," she wrote. "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!"

Crews chimed in his support on the comments, posting a bunch of fists and fire emoji.

Sarah Hyland, Vergara's co-star on the recently wrapped "Modern Family," also shared her excitement.

"SO PROUD OF YOU MI AMOR!!!!!" Hyland wrote.

"I can’t WAIT!!!!" another "Modern Family" co-star, Jesse Tyler, also commented.

Meredith Ahr, the president of alternative and reality programming at NBC, added Vergara's "infectious energy and sharp wit" will work well with the returning judges.

“As both a respected actress and successful entrepreneur, she embodies the American dream that is synonymous with AGT’s transformative stage,” Ahr said in a statement.

Vergara and Klum will be filling the seats vacated by Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough who both judged for only one season.

After news of their departure, Variety reported that Union had been let go after she raised allegations of sexist and racially insensitive behavior on set that included among other things, her being repeatedly told that her hairstyles were "too black" and "a white male performer crossing a line in portraying people of color." Producers allowed the performance to proceed but it was later cut from the episode, Variety said.

NBC and the Screen Actors Guild launched separate investigations in December into Union’s claims of what has been reported as a “toxic work environment." Union also met with NBC executives in December in a five-hour meeting that she later described as "productive."