Singer-actor Nick Cannon abruptly announced Monday that he is leaving as host of the NBC variety competition “America’s Got Talent.”
“I write this from a deeply saddened and dolorous mindset,” Cannon, 36, posted on social media. “After days of deliberating over some extremely disappointing news that I was being threatened with termination by Executives because of a comedy special that was only intended to bring communities closer together, I was to be punished for a joke. This has weighed heavy on my spirit. It was brought to my attention by my ‘team’ that NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand.”
In his Showtime comedy special “Nick Cannon: Stand Up, Don’t Shoot,” which premiered Friday, the comic riffed on his eight-season stint as genial host of “America’s Got Talent,” which is returning for season 12 this year. Among his least pointed remarks, Cannon joked that “ . . . you all see me on the show. Man, sometimes I wish I could say the stuff that I really want to say, that I be really thinking. . . . But I can’t say that! I can’t talk like that! Because that’d mess up the white money. It will!” he said, according to a partial transcript at the TV-news website Decider.com.
TMZ.com said on Friday that after Cannon appeared on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show Wednesday to promote the special — shot more than a month ago at the Ebony Repertory Theatre in South Central Los Angeles — NBC officials learned Cannon had taken comic jabs at the network but chose to let it go. NBC had announced in August that Cannon would return.
“I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn’t have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property,” Cannon wrote. “There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity.” Saying he has loved hosting the show and “watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions” and that his colleagues have “been a pleasure to work with,” he went on to note that “this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions.”
He added, “Maybe it was my mistake for signing the contract in the first place, in which I will take full responsibility and have already taken action to restructure my own team of advisors.” Wishing the show and network well, he stated, “I can not see myself returning.”
NBC did not immediately respond to a Newsday request for comment.