Nick Cannon Under Contract, Can’t Just Quit ‘America’s Got Talent’

“AGT” host has suggested he’s exiting show after claims that NBC threatened termination over N-word joke

Last Updated: February 13, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

Not so fast, Nick Cannon, you’re still under contract at “America’s Got Talent” — and quitting just may not be in the (cue) cards.

The “AGT” host and all four judges re-upped their NBC deals last August, when the talent show was busy dominating summer 2016’s TV ratings boards. That means he can’t legally resign for the upcoming cycle, despite what the “Wild ‘N Out” alum threatened on social media Monday.

Also, he may not even have to test NBC’s attorneys on principle. That whole disparagement clause in his contract is a pretty standard one, TheWrap is told, and it doesn’t seem like the racially charged jokes in Cannon’s Showtime special violated it.

So who allegedly threatened Cannon’s reps with termination? That remains unclear, though the peacock doesn’t seem to think it happened — or at least not quite the way Cannon recalled it on Facebook. Cannon’s publicists did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter.

Cannon, who has hosted the reality competition since 2009, stated this morning that NBC threatened to terminate his contract because of a racial joke he made during his recent Showtime stand-up special, “Stand Up, Don’t Shoot.”

“I grew up like a real n—,” Cannon said during the special. “But I honestly believe, once I started doing ‘America’s Got Talent,’ they took my real n— card. They did! Because then like these type of people started showing up to my shows.”

Cannon then pointed to three white audience members sitting in the front row. “I can’t do the real n— stuff no more, because then they’ll put me on TMZ.”

Cannon has often used “AGT” as joke fodder in his stand-up act, but with a television audience also watching, Cannon decided to warn everyone that they weren’t going to get the family-friendly host that they know from “AGT” and Nickelodeon.

“I apologize, white people,” he said in the special. “We over here talking about bitches and players and stuff, and you think this is ‘America’s Got Talent.’ It’s going to be a little different tonight. ‘America’s Got Talent,’ but America’s got n—rs, too, so. You staring at a real one onstage […]Matter of fact, that’s what NBC gonna stand for tonight. N— Better Come on, ‘cuz n—s be cussing! So n— be careful!”

Cannon’s social media stance criticized NBC for trying to threaten his ability to freely express himself, saying the threats were “another way to silence and control an outspoken voice who often battles the establishment.”

“Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions,” Cannon wrote. “I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”

Cannon went on to apologize to “AGT” fans and said that he enjoyed the eight seasons he spent working on the show, but decided that continuing to work with NBC was not in his best interests as an artist. He also criticized major media corporations like NBC Universal for their scarcity of minority executives despite controlling “90 percent of media.”

“I felt like I was apart of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender, and demographic,” he wrote. “Now for the rug to be pulled from underneath me and to be publicly reprimanded and ridiculed over a joke about my own race is completely wrong and I have to do something about it.”