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TV Column
Posted at 08:10 PM ET, 11/11/2011

Shock jock Howard Stern trying to close deal to join NBC’s family show ‘America’s Got Talent’


Howard Stern is in negotiations to replace the departing Piers Morgan on "America's Got Talent.” (Evan Agostini - AP)

Shock jock Howard Stern, having failed to close a deal to judge aspiring singers on Fox’s “American Idol,” is now trying to close a deal to judge contortionists, jugglers, clowns, sword swallowers, ventriloquists, and singers on NBC’s summer show “America’s Got Talent.”

 The gig might seem an odd aspiration for a shock jock, but the former self-proclaimed King of all Media’s kingdom got a lot smaller when he migrated from syndication to satellite radio, and Stern actually stands to gain a lot in recovered visibility if he is seen twice weekly on a broad-appeal vehicle. “Talent” is NBC’s most watched series, and the most watched show of the summer on any network, clocking 14.3 million viewers on Tuesday nights last summer and 13.3 million on Wednesdays – both series highs for the six-season-old show.

That said, it’s no “American Idol,” which Stern lobbied to join back when Simon Cowell announced he was leaving in order to launch “X Factor” on Fox.

At the time, Stern said in interviews that he wasn’t sure if what the judges do on “Idol” is ‘work,’ and that there’s no cushier job on the planet that judging “a [expletive] karaoke contest.” He also said “Idol” was “in trouble,” because the judges were afraid to deliver actual opinions about the performances and “they probably do need me.” At that time, “Idol” was averaging about 25 million viewers on performance nights.

 Also at the time, Cowell said Stern was unqualified to replace him on the show. Cowell, BTW, is the creator and exec producer of “America’s Got Talent”.

 Anyway, Fox instead went instead with the sweet-talking Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler – ouch! Oh, and the audience for the show grew larger.

 NBC is looking for someone to fill the Acerbic Truth-Teller slot being vacated by Piers Morgan who, this week, gave himself the exclusive that he was leaving the goofy summer competition show he’d helmed since its premiere in order to focus on covering the political election for CNN, as he reported Wednesday night on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” There’s at least one gag in there, somewhere.

 Stern would be joining Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel – the other two judges on the show NBC suits like to call “good family programming.” 

 It’s been a good week for Stern, who also was in the news when the motion picture academy on Tuesday accepted Brett Ratner’s resignation as producer of the upcoming Academy Awards broadcast after Ratner visited Stern’s satellite radio show to chat about masturbation, the size of the family jewels, and having his girlfriends visit his doctor to make sure they don’t have sexually transmitted diseases before he has sex with them.

 Stern wants $15 million for the “Talent” gig, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the talks. Stern late last year re-signed with Sirius XM Radio through 2015 at what, according to some press reports, some analysts estimated was a 20 percent pay cut.

 According to that WSJ report, there’s some talk about moving to “Talent” to New York City to accommodate Stern who, according to some, is a “true fan” of the show.

 

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By  |  08:10 PM ET, 11/11/2011

 
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