On Saturday, the actress — whose ABC hit series Modern Family is concluding in April after 11 seasons — told Extra that she is “super excited” to be joining AGT season 15’s judging panel beside Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum.
“Something completely different than I thought I was going to do after Modern Family”, Vergara, 47, said. “I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do something different after 10 years of such a fantastic TV show. I didn’t think I was going to get something like that, but I think it’s better to mix it up for a while.”
The mom of one added, “I think I am going to have a lot of fun. I’ve been watching the show for a long time, and it looks like the judges have so much fun — like the contestants.”
Vergara also expressed excitement to be judging alongside Cowell, who has been on the panel since 2016. “He’s super nice,” she said.
PEOPLE confirmed on Thursday that Vergara was joining the NBC competition series as the fourth judge for season 15.
“I’m so happy to join my new family on AGT. This is a new and exciting next chapter for me and I’m extremely proud to be the first Latin judge on the show. I can’t wait to watch all the talent and have fun with all you guys!” she said in a statement.
Klum will also be returning after a season hiatus. The model was on the second season of AGT‘s spin-off show, America’s Got Talent: The Champions, which premiered on Jan. 6 and wrapped on Feb. 17, along with newcomer Alesha Dixon as well as Cowell and Mandel.
News of Vergara’s casting came after she had a meeting with the network on Dec. 18. During the discussion, the network and Vergara discussed a variety of projects, including AGT, though NBC was actively talking to multiple talents about the vacant seats at the time. (TMZ was the first to report the news.)
In mid-November, PEOPLE confirmed that Union, 47, and Hough, 31, — who both joined season 14 in February, replacing Mel B and Klum — would not be returning for the 15th season.
Since then, Union continues to speak out about her AGT season after she was fired from the NBC competition series and alleged racial insensitivity on set.
Union and Hough were both subjected to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, according to Variety, which also reported that Union said she received a comment about her hairstyles being “too black” for the show.
In a statement to the publication at the time, Hough denied that she had a negative experience on the show and said she was “happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”
A spokesperson for NBC and production company Fremantle responded to the claims with a statement to PEOPLE on Nov. 26: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT‘s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
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On Dec. 4, Union revealed she met with NBC and AGT production company Fremantle and Syco Entertainment.
“We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,” Union wrote on Twitter at the time. “I was able to again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement to PEOPLE about their meeting with Union. “While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”