French confirmed as Australia's Got Talent judge

Channel Nine has signed British comedian Dawn French as a judge for its reboot of Australia's Got Talent.

Confirmation of the deal follows yesterday's signing of former Spice Girl and X Factor Australia judge Melanie Brown.

New face: Dawn French has been announced as one of the judges on <em>Australia's Got Talent</em>.
New face: Dawn French has been announced as one of the judges on Australia's Got TalentPhoto: Getty Images

Signing French is a coup for Nine, and ups the ante in what is fast becoming a deal-by-deal exercise in sabre-rattling with rival Seven.

Yesterday, as it was reeling from Brown's defection to Nine, it is understood Seven accelerated plans to put Dannii Minogue into The X Factor to replace her.

Nine will also expand the AGT format to include four judges. It is understood the remaining two judges, who Nine is expected to name later this week, will both be Australian.

That move was not unexpected. America's Got Talent, where Brown is currently working, expanded its judging panel to four judges this year to bring the show additional firepower.

Nine's director of television Michael Healy said French's contribution would "deliver on our promise for a bigger and better series."

Expanding the line up to four "will add to the dynamic mix of expertise," Mr Healy said.

X Factor: Dannii Minogue.
X Factor: Dannii Minogue. 

In signing French, Nine is giving AGT a clear point of difference from Nine's flagship talent show, The Voice.

The "Got Talent" format has always struggled to establish a clear line of difference from talent shows focusing on singers and its broader remit to include a variety of performers, including dancers, jugglers, drummers and others.

The Seven iteration of the format, which featured two singers and a radio shock jock, did not always navigate that line smoothly as its judging panel had a largely music background.

Nine's reboot of AGT will launch later this year.