Howard Stern Joins America's Got Talent

A radio superstar for three decades, and a man on a first-name basis with several of the world’s major porn stars, Howard Stern will now assume his biggest television assignment ever, on a series known as family entertainment. This should be fun.

As has been rumored for a few weeks, Stern will be filling the judges’ chair on America’s Got Talent vacated by Piers Morgan, who left the show in order to concentrate on his CNN primetime chat hour. NBC made it official on Thursday.

Said NBC head of reality programming Paul Telegdy in a statement, “Howard Stern's larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to America's Got Talent starting this summer. He's a proven innovator and his track record in broadcasting is truly remarkable. Howard is very passionate about this show and is fully committed to its future success.”

Stern has often stoked speculation that he might be interested in judging a reality show, though one issue has been that shows like American Idol tend to be based in Hollywood, where Stern is a committed New Yorker. But NBC has decided to make things easier on the King of All Media by moving production of the live episodes of America’s Got Talent to the Big Apple.

There are questions about how the shock jock will fit into the dynamic already established by returning judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne – Morgan was happy to play the “villain” character, and was the usual foil for Mandel’s teasing. But while Stern can be crude, he has an appreciation for showbiz, and can probably be trusted to behave himself and not ask female contestants to strip on live TV.

Not everyone is convinced: the Parents Television Council has attacked NBC for bringing Stern aboard, saying the network “holds no concern whatsoever for children and families” and calling Stern “a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity.” OK, so what’s their point?