‘America’s Got Talent’ Taking Heat Over Potential Howard Stern Hire

Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011 02:37 PM

By James Hirsen

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“America's Got Talent” co-creator Simon Cowell is under fire following reports that Howard Stern could be part of the show's judging panel along with Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel.

The shock jock would be replacing exiting reality show judge Piers Morgan.

Between 1990 and 2004, the Federal Communications Commission issued fines of $2.5 million to radio licensees for airing alleged indecent material from “The Howard Stern Show,” which is the highest amount levied against a radio program.

With the current descent into lewdness by the television networks, talent competition shows have been some of the last bastions of family fare to be broadcast on the small screen.

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has been putting some pressure on NBC executives as well as the producers of “America's Got Talent” in an attempt to get the network to abandon its plan to hire Stern.

PTC president Tim Winter issued a warning in the form of a recent statement, which alluded to a potential loss of profit for the network.

“If the rumors are true that NBC is considering the addition of radio shock jock Howard Stern to the 'America's Got Talent' judges table, the result will be the alienation of tens of millions of advertising dollars,” the statement read.

At a recent Hollywood Hills viewing party for Cowell’s other show, "The X Factor," the reality show judge was coy with the press. When asked if Stern was a possible Piers replacement, Cowell told MTV, "You'll have to wait and see."

Cowell hinted that Stern might be asking for too high a salary, quipping, “[You're] cheaper, right? That will help.”

Stern seems to relish the idea of being a reality show judge. When Cowell announced his own "Idol" departure in 2010, Stern told his satellite radio listeners that he was in the running to replace Cowell.

"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."

Cowell recently came under fire for an “X Factor” incident in which a male contestant, Geo Godley, removed his clothing while performing on stage.

The fact of the matter is that NBC and the producers of the show have an ethical responsibility to keep “America's Got Talent” family friendly for the TV audience, particularly the younger viewers.

Perhaps an even more persuasive point for decision makers at the Peacock network is that bringing a highly controversial shock jock to a prime-time talent show may be bad for business.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for InternationalEsq.com. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood.

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