Don’t underestimate Simon Cowell. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with ‘AGT’ judge Howie Mandel about the latest on Simon (and the finale), what it’s been like working during a pandemic, and his heart health.
America’s Got Talent is just a week away from the season 15 finale. For the live shows, judges Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara, and Heidi Klum have been without their fourth judge, Simon Cowell, who broke his back in Aug. 2020 in an electric bike accident. Simon is currently recovering from home. HollywoodLife got an EXCLUSIVE update from Howie while he was promoting his partnership with Take Cholesterol To Heart about Simon and whether or not we’ll see him again this season.
“I talked to him,” Howie told HollywoodLife. ” He’s in a lot of pain. He’s up on his feet. He’s doing physio. You can’t understate how disastrous that injury is. It’s got to be incredibly excruciating. He’s got a pole in his back. He’s had a six-hour operation, but he is up on his feet. I think the guy’s a superhero. I really do. I wouldn’t — I don’t know — but I wouldn’t count him out yet for even just an appearance on the finale.”
AGT was one of the first shows to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The show eliminated its live audience and have taken extra health and safety precautions to ensure the health and safety of the contestants, judges, and crew. Howie admitted the set of AGT is the “safest place” and raved about the crew.
“It’s a combination of wonderful and weird,” Howie said about working during the pandemic. “I’ve got to tell you that the safest place in my life, even more than at home, is on the set of AGT because of the protocols that they are following. Nobody crosses paths, the people that you’re seeing on camera, me and Sofia and Heidi, I don’t think we get within six feet of each other. Nobody touches anything. If anybody has to interact with you from a crew member for sound, they’re coming at you with these shields and masks and goggles. It’s like working on Mars. It’s really weird. I miss the feel of 3000 to 5000 people right behind me right up against me with that roar, but I still get the roar of a wall of people who are watching in real-time from right across America. It’s different. It’s wonderful, and I think we have the best crew in showbusiness that had the wherewithal to come up with this technology. I think we are trendsetting as far as how to produce.”
September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and his heart health is something Howie takes very seriously. A couple of decades ago, Howie was told he had high cholesterol, and he “didn’t really understand what the ramifications of high cholesterol was or what that even meant.” He continued: “Right when I was diagnosed, I didn’t know that it was dangerous because I felt like I was fit and was active and always ran and moved and ate well and maintained kind of a healthy lifestyle. I learned that, regardless of all that, you may have it and a lot of people do have it.”
Howie revealed that he hopes to use his voice to make sure people know that high cholesterol is a “silent ticking time bomb” and to “maintain vocabulary with your caregivers” about your health. “I just want people to take care of themselves because sometimes when you don’t feel something and you don’t hear something and you look a certain way, you won’t take care of it. And that’s the scariest part about it,” Howie said.
During the pandemic, Howie has been taking advantage of the perks of telehealth. “I haven’t been in the doctor’s office, but I have communicated with my doctor. I don’t go to the pharmacy to go pick up my medications. Now it’s like Christmas every morning with it being delivered at my door. To be honest with you, when this is over and we’re on the other side of this, I want to still maintain some telehealth. It’s more convenient as somebody who travels all the time for a job. I was always making appointments around my schedule. Now I’ve learned that I could schedule these things at any time and as inconvenient as a world pandemic is, I have found ways to make maintaining my health more convenient, which I will keep with me.”