By Tom Taylor
The following article comes from Tom Taylor’s newsletter, Taylor on Radio-Info.
“America’s Got Talent” really, really wanted Howard Stern, and they got him, for $10 million-plus.
NBC also agrees to Stern’s dealbreaker demand – that production of the six-year-old talent-discovery show be uprooted from Los Angeles to New York. And yes, his bargaining position was that strong – series creator Simon Cowell wanted his presence very badly. Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) tweeted the news that Stern is “the newest judge on America’s Got Talent” early yesterday, as Stern was announcing it on satellite radio. One of his guests was Sharon Osbourne, a current judge (along with Howie Mandel) of “Talent.” Stern will replace Piers Morgan as the third judge. How much money’s involved? Last month the New York Post reported that $20 million was on the table, not counting the cost of shooting in New York. Yesterday’s L.A. Times quotes a “knowledgeable insider” saying Stern’s check is more like $10 million. Stern says he isn’t doing it for the money — he loves the show. This is good visibility for him and also for Sirius XM. Season #7 begins airing on NBC next Summer. Expect some controversy before then —
Video: Howard Stern makes the announcement on his Sirius XM Radio morning show that he will be joining Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne as a judge on the hit NBC show ’America’s Got Talent’.
Now the blowback – Parents Television Council unloads on Stern.
Ultimately – can they make it too unpleasant and costly for NBC to add Howard Stern to “America’s Got Talent?” Outside pressure groups have made life miserable for other radio talents who tried TV, from Dr. Laura and Michael Savage to Rush Limbaugh. In this case, NBC and “Talent” producer Simon Cowell had to know there would be controversy, and on some level, it’s actually good. They know Stern’s not going to be come on a mainstream network TV show this Summer and talk about stripper poles and body parts. No questions about cup sizes. He’ll be calibrating his persona, and probably surprising some people who don’t know him. At last week’s Arbitron Client Conference, Merlin Media COO Walter Sabo said Stern didn’t become famous “by talking with strippers. He did it through candor, and eliminating the fourth wall.” So what did the Parents Television Council actually say? That “in an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition.” This line will make Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) owned NBC pause, however – the network “risks losing millions in advertising dollars.”
Tom Taylor is the Executive News Editor at Radio-Info.com.
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