In advance of his debut next Monday on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, new judge Howard Stern held a press conference in New York Thursday, where he responded to critics’ assertion that his no-holds-barred style would not play nicely with network television audiences.
Saying Stern has been no stranger to controversy would be a massive understatement. However, Stern knows what type of show he is stepping into, and said he is not out to make America’s Got Talent into something it shouldn’t be.
“I respect what America’s Got Talent is. It is a family show; it is a show that I love. I’ve been watching it for years,” said Stern. “I don’t want to come in and do The Howard Stern Show.”
That hasn’t stopped watchdog group, the Parent’s Television Council, from asking advertisers to drop their sponsors for the NBC reality hit.
Stern predictably fired back: “You can’t complain about a show until you see the show… they’re entitled to their own opinion, but they just sound awfully foolish when they haven’t seen the show.”
Considering his acrimonious relationship with NBC in the past, Stern was surprised that he was even considered to replace Piers Morgan, who left the show in November to focus more in his gig hosting Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN.
“When NBC first asked me to be a judge on America’s Got Talent, I was sure they made some kind of mistake,” said Stern. “This is a family show, this is where family values are respected and I have been disrespecting family values for years.”
Nevertheless, he is ready to put past feelings to rest and work with the network once again. “I’m thrilled to be with NBC once again, this time we’re going to get it right…we hope.”
Stern was bullish on his fellow judges, Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne: “I think we represent the best judging panel on TV,” and continued the praise for the show’s host, Nick Cannon. “Nick is fabulous. Every time I make a contestant cry, he picks up the pieces so beautifully.”
The biggest thing Stern said he hopes to bring to America’s Got Talent is “honesty,” something he complains there is not enough of on reality competition shows. “If the judges don’t step up and offer real criticism, then these types of shows will start to get too dull.
“We’ve got to be honest, we’ve got to be direct and we’ve got to help the talent,” said Stern. “It’s my job as a judge on America’s Got Talent to get them to the next level, and be honest about why it’s not happening for them.”