'America's Got Talent' has got NBC's Best Ratings

From SouthCoastToday.com

There is no surprise that America's Got Talent has been the highest rated show all summer, but in case you didn't know or wanted to read more about it, SouthCoastToday.com has a nice article about the show and judges.

The folks at NBC must be wishing the summer would never end. The last-place network that just fired its president on the eve of launching its fall schedule continues to dominate the summer ratings with healthy doses of "America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., r, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

There's little to dislike about this talent/variety show, with its ecumenical mix of singing, magic, contortion acts, comedy and even a smattering of classical talent. Somewhere in show-biz heaven, Ed Sullivan is looking down and smiling and wondering where all the plate-spinners and marionette acts have gone.

"America" continues the uniquely American tradition of casting British-accented judges as arbiters of American talent. Piers Morgan, a staple of "Britain's Got Talent," is firmly established in the Simon Cowell role, happily dispensing unpopular opinions to choruses of derisive boos. Sharon Osbourne, whose British inflections have survived decades of residence in Los Angeles, does her own variation on Paula Abdul, doling out knowledgeable nuggets of encouragement and cheer. David Hasselhoff, the sole Yank in the "Talent" troika, has gained the most from the show. He's put notorious YouTube exposure behind him, offering short bursts of EveryGuy enthusiasm. He reminds me of the nicest gym teacher I never had.

My quibbles with "Talent" are few. Why, for instance, were the judges so curt with Dave Johnson, a guy with the temerity and cleverness to sing a joke-folk song about the cast of "The Golden Girls"? Is he Vegas material? No. But maybe not everybody wants to sing for desperate casino denizens down to their last roll of quarters. He offered a brief moment of wit in an irony-free zone, and for that he gets my commendation.

Still, who doesn't love the sight of The Footworkingz, seriously amazing street performers wearing black-light regalia and full war paint, towering over the renegade Brownie troop known as Pixie Mystere? That's America. That's talent. And that's entertainment.