Howard's Got Buzz
Stern expected to lure millions to 'America's Got Talent'
It is clear that "America's Got Talent" will create at least one new multimillion-dollar career this season. Whether it will also launch an unknown into show biz is another matter.
Millions are expected to tune in when the show returns for its seventh season to judge only the talent possessed by Howard Stern. Fans of the polarizing radio host will want to see if their hero -- who replaces departed judge Piers Morgan -- can still be funny when limited to G-rated entertainment criticism. (In the line outside a recent New York audition taping, MTV News found that most were there solely to see Stern -- and some had never seen an "AGT" episode.)
At the same time, "AGT" fans who hate Stern -- or at least think they do -- will tune in to see how badly he tarnishes the franchise. And many are likely to be disappointed. A Daily Beast reporter present at the New York taping said that Stern, while taking the occasional juvenile stab at his co-judges, "clearly takes the job seriously," taking copious notes and sticking mostly to the script of choosing acts with the most talent.
“You can’t be mean to be the mean judge," Stern told Access Hollywood at the New York taping. "You can’t be funny to be the funny judge. You’ve gotta come from an honest place [and] offer people criticism that they can take home and use. And that’s what I do.”
In fact, Stern is a safe bet to dominate every aspect of the show, not only due to his star power -- a good thing in light of the J-Lo/Christina Aguilera bar raised by the competition -- but because fellow judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel are both confirmed Stern fans. Each has made dozens of appearances, all deferential, on his airwaves over the decades. In fact, it was Stern who first suggested the idea of a reality show based on the Osbournes' home life, and it was to Stern that Mandel came out as an acute sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"America's Got Talent" returns Monday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.