Modern Family's Sofia Vergara announced as new America's Got Talent judge alongside returning star Heidi Klum

MODERN Family's Sofia Vergara has been announced as the new judge on NBC's America's Got Talent.

The 47-year-old actress, who plays Gloria on the US sitcom, joins returning judge Heidi Klum, 46, who most recently was a judge on AGT: Champions, on the panel.

The glamorous duo will sit alongside longtime AGT judges Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell for the upcoming season 15.

In a statement, Colombian-born Sofia, who is changing lanes from her sitcom background, said: "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."

While Heidi, who was on the show from 2013 to 2018 and then did two seasons of AGT: Champions, shared her delight about returning to the judging panel with new addition Sofia.

She shared: "I'm so excited to be back at AGT with Simon, Howie and Terry. The fact that Sofia Vergara is joining us is the icing on an already delicious cake."

Sofia is the highest paid sitcom star on US TV, earning $44.1million in 2019, and recently wrapped her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family earlier this week.

Sofia and Heidi replace Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, who were dropped as judges after just one season.

German model Heidi recently defended AGT amid racial and gender discrimination accusations from last season’s judge Gabrielle, 47.

The German model was perceived as "defending" the show when she spoke at a Television Critics Association event back in January.

"I've only had an amazing experience [on the show]. I can’t speak for Gabrielle.

"I didn't experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect," she said at the time.

Heidi was a judge on the show alongside Simon Cowell, 60, from seasons eight to 13 and the first season of America's Got Talent: The Champions until her departure in February 2019.

Both Gabrielle and fellow former judge Julianne Hough, 31, were hired as replacements but left the talent competition show after only one season.

Reports began to emerge soon after their sudden exit – which NBC offered little explanation for – that the women were subjected to a “toxic” work culture that included "racist jokes" backstage.

According to show insiders, Gabrielle was accused of having hairstyles that were "too black" for the AGT audience while Julianne suffered "consistent criticism" about her appearance which impacted morale.

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