HOLLYWOOD — "America's Got Talent" could get a lot more shocking next summer.
This week, reports leaked that producers have approached radio superstar Howard Stern to replace Piers Morgan, who bowed out of the gig to focus on his new CNN show. And now, "America's Got Talent" creator and executive producer Simon Cowell has added fuel to the shock jock's fire.
At "The X Factor" viewing party in the Hollywood Hills last night, Cowell was predictably playful when asked if Stern was an actual possibility as a Piers replacement. "You'll have to wait and see," Simon told MTV News with a wink and a smile.
This isn't the first time Stern has lobbied for a spot on a hit show's judging panel. His name briefly popped up when Paula quit "American Idol" in 2009, but it wasn't until Cowell announced his own "Idol" departure in 2010 that the "Private Parts" author looked like a real contender for a hot minute. Stern told his satellite-radio listeners that he was on the short list to take over the open spot. "There's not a better job on the planet than judging a f---ing karaoke contest," Stern said. "It might be possible; we'll see."
At the time, the outspoken "Idol" critic said he would quit his radio show if Fox ponied up enough dough. (He threw out the figure $100 million. Shortly after his radio announcement, "Idol" poo-pooed Stern's claims, saying they had barely begun searching for a new judge.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, NBC isn't offering anywhere near that kind of salary for the "Talent" gig. (Think more like $15 million.) However, a source also claims that NBC may be moving the summer talent competition to New York so Howard Stern could easily continue his satellite-radio show while also judging jugglers, singers and fire-breathers.
Cowell jokingly hinted that Stern might be asking for too much money, quipping to MTV News' cameras, "[You're] cheaper, right? That will help."
Do you think Howard Stern is a good fit for "America's Got Talent"? Sound off in the comments below!