Cowell has, in fact, gone as far as having a shortlist of potential judges -- he wouldn't say who, of course -- and hopes to see everything in place within the next four weeks, just in time for season 7 auditions in February.
"I always like four-person panels because it leaves less room for error," Cowell told the New York Post
. "It also means you can have different skill sets on there. I am adamant that we need one."
He also reveals that he's planning to add a younger, female judge to the mix, preferably "someone who will not be afraid of Sharon [Osbourne] and Howard [Stern] and fight for a different kind of act than they would."
These changes are part of a major "overhaul" that Cowell plans for AGT: apart from shock jock Stern's controversial entry to the show -- it already has the Parents Television Council up in a bunch -- the live shows will be held in New York this season, rather than in Los Angeles. The plan is to make sure the show makes more stars -- and in different fields as well.
I'm not sure how adding a fourth judge improves the mix, though. I imagine the show will spend more time on the judges' comments than the actual acts -- and, inevitably, the light-hearted fighting between them. Remember when American Idol went with four judges instead of three? Lots of overruns.
But it would be interesting to see how the new judging panel will treat the new bunch of acts going through their doors. Whether you like him or not, Stern will bring a fresh eye to the auditions -- Piers Morgan lately looked bored out there. Judge number four will do the same.
Of course, it depends on who AGT picks as the fourth judge -- so who should she be, then?
(Image courtesy of NBC)