Howard Stern joins 'America's Got Talent,' replaces Piers Morgan as judge
Howard Stern, known for his X-rated Sirius XM radio show, will replace Piers Morgan as a judge on NBC reality series "America's Got Talent," following weeks of speculation.
The 57-year-old shock jock made the announcement on his program on Thursday, December 15 and the network also confirmed the news. Auditions for season 7 of the show began in October. The series usually airs its season premieres in the late spring.
"Howard says he'll start shooting in February and actually be traveling the country to do the audition rounds," a message on his radio show's Twitter account said.
Stern said on his radio show, known for its explicit content and interviews with both mainstream celebrities and porn stars, that he plans to be "Piers on steroids" on "America's Got Talent."
"This nonsense of Howie and Sharon putting through less than talented people has got to stop," he joked, referring to fellow judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. "Under my administration there will be no Frank Sinatra impersonators winning for the year. If people think I'm the crazy man, I am not. I am the voice of reason."
NBC's president of Alternative and Late Night Programming, Paul Telegdy, said Stern's "larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to 'America's Got Talent' starting this summer" and called him "a proven innovator."
The watchdog group the Parents Television Council was not as pleased with the casting news, which it called an "act of desperation" for NBC.
"Not coincidentally, in just over three weeks the network will be standing before the United States Supreme Court arguing for the right to use the F-word at any time of the day, even in front of children," PTC president Tim Winter told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a statement.
"The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families," he added. "It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars. Whatever principles NBC had in the past, when the network was successful, have clearly gone out the window."
Production of the live broadcast of "America's Got Talent" will relocate from Los Angeles to New York, where he lives and works, the Associated Press said.
Morgan had in November that he was leaving the show to focus on his CNN talk series. The British former newspaper editor was known as the most acerbic judge on "America's Got Talent." Stern has often said on his show about how much he enjoys watching talent contest programs, especially "American Idol."
The shock jock, who is one of the best-paid radio personalities and who calls himself the "King of all Media," was rumored to be in talks to join "America's Got Talent" for weeks but until now had said on his show, when asked about it, that he had nothing to report. He has not disclosed his salary, adding on Thursday that he did not accept the job for the money.
A previous 5-year agreement Stern once had with Sirius XM is said to have been worth $500 million. Last year, Stern signed a new 5-year deal with the company, which agreed to continue to broadcast his show and other programs on his Howard 100 and Howard 101 channels until the end of 2015.
His new job on "America's Got Talent" also marks Stern's return to NBC since he was fired from its radio station WNBC in 1985. The network said his former program, which was similar to that of his current show, was indecent and slammed him for using expletives on the air, which cost about $2.5 million in Federal Communications Commission fines.
In 2005, he moved his show to satellite radio, where he is less censored. Moments from his career and beef with the FCC and his then-boss were showcased in the 1997 comedy film "Private Parts".