Australia’s Got Talent, featuring Nova’s Kate Ritchie, will no longer go ahead this year

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This year’s edition of Australia’s Got Talent has been put on the back burner, with Channel 7 conceding it can’t go ahead due to Sydney’s COVID-19 situation.

This year’s revitalised iteration was set to once again be hosted by former Australian Idol contestant, singer and media identity Ricki-Lee Coulter, alongside a new judging panel.

The new judging panel included Nova Drive co-host Kate Ritchie, who had said she was “super excited to see the incredible talent Australia has to offer”.

Joining her was internationally acclaimed star of stage and screen Neil Patrick Harris. Radio Today understands he had already completed Australian quarantine with his family.

In addition, former Mis-Teeq band member, Alesha Dixon, was to join the panel from the UK. Dixon has also already racked up nine years on Britain’s Got Talent and appeared on America’s Got Talent.

And former judge and Australian actor and comedian Shane Jacobson was making his return to the show.

Sydney was plunged into lockdown late last week, and, at the moment, it’s scheduled to last until July 9.

Channel 7 said a live studio audience is a vital element of the show, which isn’t possible in the current environment.

It has not yet announced a rescheduled filming or airing date.

“Due to current COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney, we have decided to postpone production of the new season of AGT to a date to be determined,” a Seven Network spokesperson told The Music Network. “A studio audience is a vitally important part of this much-loved show, so we have made the responsible but tough call to not go ahead for now.”

The show also didn’t proceed last year due to Australia’s COVID-19 situation.

Seven thanked its would-be host and judges and said “we hope to see you again soon”.

Despite the blow to its programming schedule, the network remained upbeat about its pipeline.

“The postponement is disappointing, but there is a lot of great content to come on Seven across the rest of 2021, including Farmer Wants A Wife – which starts this Sunday – The Voice, SAS Australia, Big Brother VIP, more of our high-ratings 7News Spotlight specials, a special on William Tyrrell, the AFL Finals Series, Bathurst 1000 and, of course, the Tokyo Olympics and the Ashes Test Series.”

Radio Today understands the hole left by AGT will be filled by additional 7News Spotlight specials and extended runs of its other tentpole programs.

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