A Look at Howard Stern's New Gig

At the beginning of 2010 when Simon Cowell announced that he was leaving American Idol, a lot of people (including me) speculated if Howard Stern might be his replacement.  That didn't happen, but now Stern will replace Piers Morgan as one of the hosts of that other televised talent competition, America's Got Talent.

Morgan moved on to his own CNN interview show, taking over the time slot left vacant by Larry KingAmerica's Got Talent is one of my guilty pleasures, and Morgan could be entertaining with his stinging British critiques, but he was also often the most annoying aspect of the program, so I admit I won't really miss him.  If Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel return as the rest of the judging team, along with host Nick Cannon, I think Howard Stern can add a lot of value to the mix.

The big question will be, can Stern work in a team atmosphere where he's not the primary focus?  I think the answer will be yes.  Just as Simon Cowell was the lightning rod for American Idol (and still arguably is for The X-Factor), Stern will draw much of the attention, but he's proven on his radio show that he can let his other partners shine (like Robin Quinn or Artie Lange).  The man has good instincts and I'm sure he will surprise many of his detractors.

He is also a genuine fan of the competition, so even though the production will be moving to New York City to accomodate him (he just renewed his deal with Sirius XM to continue his popular satellite radio show) I don't imagine the tone of the program will change too much.  Up until now, the goal has been to find a million dollar Las Vegas act -- the same could be done on Broadway.

Some folks hate Stern with a passion, but I've grown to respect his honesty, intelligence, and quick wit, especially after seeing his excellent bio-flick Private Parts. While his crude humor can be grating and juvenile, I don't think we will see too much of that on America's Got Talent.  He'll certainly push the envelope, but I'll be surprised if his "shock jock" persona isn't toned down a bit to appease some of the families watching the network TV show (without coming across as a sell out). 

The self-described "King of All Media" has achieved his success by taking chances and not shying away from controversy, but we'll have to wait and see exactly what Stern will bring to the table when the new season of America's Got Talent debuts next summer.