Wondering what's going on for the upcoming season of "America's Got Talent"? Don't ask judge Howie Mandel. He has no clue.
Since the NBC reality show launched in 2006, there's been quite a few changes to the judges' lineup. What started out with David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Brandy Norwood certainly didn't stay that way. None of the original judges are still around, and since then we also saw. Mandel, though, has been a constant since joining the panel in 2010. He was part of the the latest iteration, sitting alongside returning judge Howard Stern and newbies Melanie Brown and Heidi Klum for season 8 this past summer.
A month ago,she didn't know if she would be asked back. "I get most of my information for 'AGT' from Mel B, so if she doesn't know, then I don't know," Mandel joked. "I know nothing. I don't know...We don't know when it starts or who's doing it usually until February. So this is my break time to look for projects that interest me."
One of those projects is TBS' "Deal With It," a hidden-camera series where unsuspecting members of the public are secretly dared to pull a prank on their companions with zero time to prepare.
Season 2 will premiere this March, and with production under way for the series, Mandel says viewers can expect the unexpected: "It's an unwritten hidden-camera format...You never know how far people are going to go. You never know what's going to happen. It's laugh-out loud funny."
While in production Mandel has been able to squeeze in time for yet another project. He recently teamed with the Fibs or Facts initiative, which features an educational quiz to test people's knowledge of Atrial fibrillation (AFib) not caused by a heart valve problem, and its associated increased risk for stroke. It's a condition Mandel knows all too well.
"I was about to start production on one of my hidden prank shows," he said. "And in order to start any new production, the production company will take an insurance policy out on its players...You usually have a very light check-up done by the insurance company. I was just in a hotel room and a guy put a stethoscope up to my chest and went, 'Oh oh.'"
That "oh-oh" meant Mandel had an irregular heartbeat, joining an estimated 5.8 million Americans who have AFib.
"At the moment, all I felt was really tired. I didn't realize or recognize any of the symptoms," revealed the Canadian-born comedian, who said he now has the condition under control. Which is why he's trying to raise awareness by asking people to learn more about it. For every person who takes the quiz, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer will donate $1 to the National Stroke Association, up to $25,000.
Mandel, who says he runs 7 miles a day and has quite the busy schedule, said he knows how important it is to actually "make time" for his health.
"It's good for me to have a lot going on. It keeps me vibrant and on top of it, but I always make time for everything...I make time for my family. Life is time management."