America’s Got Talent, which will begin live shows this week–performance show tonight (8/15), results show tomorrow (8/16)–on NBC is experiences its best ratings ever.
The NBC series, which premiered back in 2006 (with host Regis Philbin), is averaging 13 million viewers since its May 30 season premiere as it heads into its live shows (Tuesday night at 8). It also tops all summer reality shows in both total viewers and adults 18-49.
[Those total viewership numbers rise to 15.2 million and 16 million vis-a-vis Live+3 and Live+7 data, respectively — the latter a new series record.]
It’s also doing extremely well on social media platforms
“AGT” has racked up over 1.8 billion social media views this season (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), triggered by Season 12’s first “Golden Buzzer” contestant, 12-year-old singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer. She snared 274 million views on Facebook, breaking Grace Vanderwaal’s “AGT” record from last season (134 million Facebook views) in just 22 hours.
Creator and judge, Simon Cowell attributes the show’s success to “luck.” but then also takes a pretty big swipe at other contemporary singing shows like The Voice. According to Cowell, AGT’s simple format is part of its success.
‘A talent show works when you have talent, and there’s only so much you could and should do.’ “The audience trusts the show and it doesn’t rely on gimmicks, which is also important. “I’ve read about a lot of shows, and they all seem to be based around, ‘It’s standing in a line! It’s standing on your head! The lights go off when you sing!’ My feeling, if I’m being honest, is that a talent show works when you have talent, and there’s only so much you could and should do.
“‘Got Talent’ is a fairly straightforward format; the original number [of contestants] is reduced to around 8 and then we end up with one. I think if I wrote that down on paper as a format now, and walked into a network and ‘AGT’ didn’t exist, they’d be going, ‘Where’s the trapdoor the contestants are gonna fall through when they can’t sing?’”
Hoo boy. In the past, Cowell has complained about the lack of Emmy love for AGT (I tend to agree with him, actually). Perhaps he’s a little envious of his fellow NBC show’s multiple Emmy wins?
Cowell also shared his feelings on losing longtime host Nick Cannon, and why he likes sticking with the same panel year after year.
“I was worried after Nick [Cannon] left because he was an incredible host, and then Tyra comes in and had a real impact. She gets the show, which is important. And we’ve kept [most of] the panel over the years which is really important,” he says, alluding to Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum. “It would’ve been really easy to tear up the panel a couple of years ago because that’s what people do … but the chemistry works and they all love the show and love the contestants.
In a recent interview, producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz attributes the AGT surge after 12 seasons to how “incredibly well” the show’s Youtube clips play online.
America’s Got Talent LIVE shows begin tonight on NBC at 8 pm. Join our live blog. Contestants performing tonight include, Kechi, Puddles Pity Party, Preacher Lawson, Yoli Mayer, Darci Lynn and more.