Dec. 16, 2011 at 8:39 AM ET
When news broke that Howard Stern was joining the "America's Got Talent" panel, there was no doubt that there would be plenty of folks who would be upset by the news. After all, the man is known for some rather raunchy stunts (Fartman, anyone?) and ... umm ... adult interviews and subject matter on his radio show over the years.
But love him or hate him, the self-proclaimed King of All Media really is a great fit, and not just for "AGT," but for talent competitions in general. Here's why:
1. He loves reality competitions!
The worst type of judge a talent show can have is one who is bored. Remember Simon Cowell on his last season of "American Idol"? Dude was totally phoning it in with half-hearted criticisms, and he even admitted to GQ that "I was bored." That's not going to be Stern, at least, not during his first season on "AGT." As fans of his SiriusXM radio show know, the shock jock loves him some reality TV and isn't afraid to admit it. He's been ranting and raving about performances on "Dancing With the Stars," "Idol," "AGT" and other programs during his satellite show for awhile now.
2. He speaks the truth
The best part of his ranting and raving? His honesty. While the actual judges on the talent competitions have often sugarcoated their criticisms of some truly awful efforts, Stern has called it like it is on his show. And he's not going to stop when he gets on national TV. "I, in no way, want to get in the way of the show," he told his SiriusXM listeners Thursday morning. "My job is to judge. You put the talent in front of me, I will give you an honest opinion. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but feelings are going to be hurt." So for those of you who have been complaining about judges fawning over everyone, you're getting what you asked for.
3. He knows how to behave
Remember, the man was on terrestrial radio for nearly three decades before his "Howard Stern Show" moved to satellite radio. Plus, he's made numerous appearances on network TV. What does that mean? He knows the FCC rules, and he knows what he can and cannot say! Besides, he's not going to be judging porn stars on "AGT," he'll be judging average folks and their various family-friendly talents. If Steven Tyler can manage to not rack up sky-high fines from the FCC on "Idol," Stern can do it on "AGT" too. (Remember the numerous ick-worthy comments the rocker made to young female contestants last season? The too-many-to-count bleeps in his wacky comments? Yeah, Stern will be just fine. Besides, it's not like someone won't be sitting with their finger on the censor button, ready to bleep him -- or fellow judge Sharon Osbourne, for that matter.)
4. He's a great interviewer
Stern knows how to get his subjects to dish on the good stuff, a feat that not everyone can manage. It's a talent that will be sure to help "AGT" drum up some extra shockers and drama -- in other words, ratings.
5. He's a family man
Stern may come across as a sex-crazed guy on his radio show, but that's his on-air personality. Away from the mic, he has always insisted he's a good guy. As he said during his interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan" (whose spot at the "AGT" judging table Stern happens to now be taking), he's never cheated on his wife -- not first wife Alison, not current wife Beth, whom he constantly gushes about. He raised three daughters, so he probably has at least some idea about how to tailor his comments to be family friendly. Did I also mention that he adores his dog Bianca Romijn-Stamos? So yeah, he has a raunchy radio personality, but his scandals aren't quite on the same level as others who have been part of the show. There wasn't this much outrage when Jerry Springer -- who has admitted to hiring prostitutes and has his own talk-show featuring cheaters, strippers and more -- hosted "AGT."
6. He's just plain entertaining
There's a reason why Stern has been such a huge success, and it's not all thanks to the dirty talk. He's a hard-working man who's great at entertaining. Regardless of whether you like what he has to say, he'll get a reaction out of you, and you'll stay tuned.
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