Sharon Osbourne on rumors she's leaving America's Got Talent: "(NBC) hasn't asked me back."
LOS ANGELES -- I had to ask.
TV critics had gathered in a hallowed space -- the stage of the venerable Price Is Right game show in CBS' Studio City complex -- facing stars of the network's prized daytime lineup, The Talk, Price, Let' Make a Deal and the Bold and The Beautiful.
But I had just one question for The Talk star Sharon Osbourne.
Is she really leaving her other TV series, America's Got Talent?
"(NBC) hasn't asked me back, so I don't know," Osbourne said after the press conference ended, speaking during a one-on-one interview."Everybody is replaceable -- look at Charlie Sheen. I genuinely love America's Got Talent. And if they don't want me back, NBC can -- it's up to NBC."
The whole issue surfaced last week, when Osbourne sent an odd message to fellow Talent judge Howard Stern, who had been discussing the possibility of her returning to the show on his radio program: ""My darling @HowardStern, money is not the reason I'm not returning to @nbcagt, it's because…"
The feels like the time-honored practice of negotiating by media; made easier by the TV Critics Association's summer press tour.
On Tuesday, CBS gathered Osbourne and fellow Talk co-anchor Julie Chen, Price host Drew Carey, Deal host Wayne Brady, Bold star Heather tom and Young and the Restless actor Peter Bergman to talk with journalists amid the neon-colored madness of Price's set.
We were given impressive stats on CBS' daytime performance and funny anecdotes about each show -- Carey recalled contestants fainting and melting down during competitions. But the real plus was face-to-face contact with the show's biggest stars.
"Howard put out that I wasn't going back because of money, but money doesn't enter into it," said Osbourne of her job judging acts alongside Stern and comic Howie Mandel on a show which was dipping in ratings until NBC pre-empted it with Olympics coverage.
NBC executives have called the flap "a storm in a tea cup," trying to cast it all as a joke gone wrong between Stern and Osbourne.
But Osbourne's tweet prompted NBC entertainment head Bob Greenblatt to speak briefly on the issue to critics at a session with the press last and other network executives wound up answering questions about it during their time at the TCA.
And whenever someone in Hollywood tells you an incident isn't about x,y, or z, guess what it's often really about?
If you're Osbourne, you might feel like you successfully sent a message. How NBC received it still remains a mystery.