‘AGT’: These Stars May Be Replacing Gabrielle Union and Neither of Them Is Sofia Vergara

America’s Got Talent has been under fire since news broke that Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough would not be returning for next season. A rotating cast of judges is nothing new for the show, but it wasn’t just the fact that Union wouldn’t be around next season that had fans upset, it was the reason behind the firing.

 Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Shortly after the news was announced, reports came out that Union was let go because she wanted to report an issue to HR. Since then, AGT has been looking for a replacement for Union.

Initially, people believed actress Sofia Vergara was in talks to be a new judge, but now two other women have become front runners.

What happened with Gabrielle Union?

The trouble with Union started when Jay Leno came to be a guest on the show in April, according to Variety.

During taping, Leno made a joke about a painting of dogs, saying the animals looked like something you would find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” Union asked the producers present to report the incident to human resources.

The report also claimed that in many instances, Union was told that her hairstyles were “too black” for the show.

NBC and Fremantle, the show’s production company, released a statement regarding these claims.

America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” the statement read. “The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

Reports of Sofia Vergara taking over

On Dec. 18, Vergara reportedly met with NBC for two hours. According to TMZ, the conversation included talks of AGT, as well as a Spanish series on Telemundo.

Who is really replacing Gabrielle Union?

According to sources close to the show, Alesha Dixon and Heidi Klum are actually front-runners to replace Union and Hough. Both women are judges on the show’s spin-off series’ America’s Got Talent: Champions.

“Simon and AGT are looking at all the options for the show when it returns next year,” the source told HollywoodLife. “When it comes to who will be on the judging panel it’s going to be a wait and see attitude until after the holidays and after the airing of AGT: Champions to see where the show stands in the ratings department and to see if any other changes are to be made. But as of right now Alesha and Heidi are on the top of the list to [fill the two seats on AGT]. Any other decisions will be made earlier next year after everything else falls into place.”

NBC did talk to Vergara about AGT, but nothing is certain.

“NBC has talked to Sofia about many things to work on together including AGT but there is no one set in stone or signed yet,” the source continued. “As for Alesha and Heidi, if their schedules warrant it would still be front runners to return and if they don’t they are always welcome back in the future. The net is out and NBC will be talking to many others after the holiday but Sofia has been in talks for working with NBC and AGT was thrown in the mix but she hasn’t signed anything yet, but the chance is absolutely there along with a handful of others they are reaching out to next year.”