Former Home & Away star Kate Ritchie, who is one of Australia's most recognised personalities with a career spanning over three decades, has been announced as a member of the new star-studded judging panel for the upcoming season of Australia's Got Talent.
She will join Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer Neil Patrick Harris, multi-platinum selling recording artist Alesha Dixon, and star of Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent: The Champions actor and entertainer Shane Jacobson.
Renowned for her 20-year role as Sally Fletcher in Seven's iconic drama, Kate's acting credits include Mr & Mrs Murder, It's A Date, Cops: LAC and Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities.
She has two Gold and three Silver TV Week Logie Awards to her name and received an AFI Award nomination.
The 42-year-old has also successfully launched a radio career, as the host of Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel drive show, which she joined in 2014, winning an Australian Commercial Radio Award for Best Entertainment Presenter and seven ACRA wins including Best On-Air Team and Best Networked Program.
This will be her first return to series television since 2013.
"People have spent more time at home than usual this past year. Some developed brand new skills and others fine-tuned their already spectacular talents," Kate said in a statement about joining AGT.
"I am not only flattered to be sharing the AGT panel with this season’s line-up but super excited to see the incredible talent Australia has to offer... from what I believe to be the best seat in the house!"
Kate recently opened up about the huge emotional impact of her decision to leave Home & Away and her beloved character behind after 20 years, admitting she was 'lost'.
Speaking on Anh's Brush With Fame she said: "[Sally] gave me purpose and a sense of achievement. I was lost and I wondered how I was going to survive without her. How were people going to react to me if I wasn’t Sally?
"I feel differently now, after loads of therapy. I thought the only thing I’d ever done of value in my life was when I was her...," she added.
Kate joins star-studded AGT judging panel
Kate will be joining Neil Patrick Harris, an acclaimed star of stage and screen whose numerous television credits include How I Met Your Mother, It’s A Sin, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Doogie Howser, M.D..
On film, he has appeared in Gone Girl, The Smurfs, and the upcoming The Matrix4. Neil has also famously hosted the Academy Awards, Emmy Awards and Tony Awards.
"To say I’m a fan of the AGT franchise is an understatement – I’ve been watching since the very first season," Neil said.
"I’m a performer who has taken many stages throughout the, well, many stages of my career – be it acting, singing, dancing, hosting, juggling, magic-ing, even breathing fire! – and I have developed enormous respect for anyone with the courage to pursue their talents and passions at any level, let alone televised on a national stage.
"Australia has phenomenal talent across so many disciplines, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join AGT in 2021 to see firsthand what the country’s awesome contestants have to offer."
Alesha Dixon has notched up an incredible nine years as a judge on Britain's Got Talent after being hand-picked by creator Simon Cowell, before joining the Australian panel.
Meanwhile Shane said he is "thrilled to be back as a judge" for AGT.
Joining the all-star panel is Aussie singer Ricki-Lee, who returns to the AGT stage as host, alongside several celebrity guest judges to be announced soon.
AGT sees some of Australia’s best entertainers go head-to-head with the world's most memorable Got Talent acts from around the world, with one walking away with the $100,000 prize.
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