UPDATED: Piers Morgan Leaving ‘America’s Got Talent’; Howie Mandel Blames Himself

Piers Morgan is stepping down as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his job as a CNN host.

The former tabloid editor revealed the news on Wednesday’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”

“Well, members of the Academy, I’m available. My schedule just cleared a bit, because I can exclusively reveal that I’m leaving ‘America’s Got Talent,’” Piers said on his show, making a reference to the currently open Oscars hosting gig.

When it first emerged that Piers was in line for the 9 PM ET slot, which was then held by exiting talk show host Larry King, rumors surfaced that NBC was prepared to let the Brit do the CNN show, provided he still adhered to his “AGT” commitment.

While Piers made both jobs work over the last season, he said Wednesday he no longer can do both.

“I’ve been a judge since the show began six years ago, I’ve loved every single second, but I’ve discovered that juggling, to my surprise, really is a bit more difficult than I thought,” he said Wednesday. “So I’m gonna focus on what will be a huge year here at CNN, with the upcoming election.”

Piers even suggested his former “AGT” co-workers will appreciate his departure.

“I wanna congratulate Sharon [Osbourne], Howie [Mandel] and Nick [Cannon] who will doubtless be relieved that they no longer have to work with me,” he concluded.

But Howie suggested on Twitter that his behavior over the last season (he even barricaded Piers in a dressing room with a vending machine) may have prompted the Brit’s move.

“I guess I’m more annoying than I thought. I’ll miss you @piersmorgan,” Howie Tweeted.

Nick too commented on Twitter about Piers’ departure, writing, “@PiersMorgan NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Now who’s outfits am I going to make fun of?”

On Thursday, NBC issued a statement over Piers’ departure

“Piers Morgan has played an integral role in making ‘America’s Got Talent’ a summer phenomenon for the past six years,” Paul Telegdy, President Alternative and Late Night, NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “As he moves on from the show, we wish him continued success with his international broadcasting career.”

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