Those of you expecting Fart Man to show up on America's Got Talent are out of luck.
At a press conference today touting his debut on NBC's hit talent competition, Howard Stern promised to bring an honest—and family friendly—point of view to the judge's table when he takes his place alongside copanelists Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne starting with Monday night's premiere.
The shock jock also talked about what to expect this season, ragged on rival TV judges Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears and addressed whether he and former cohort Artie Lange might ever reunite. Here's what he had to say.
On whether Stern's larger-than-life presence at the dais will raise AGT's ratings, Howard tells E! News that his goal was to "come in and not disrupt" the show as "that would've been a disservice" to fans.
"I didn't want to make it The Howard Stern Show," he said. "I wanted to add my honesty, I wanted to add new flavor to it and, hopefully, the show will be enhanced…You don't know if people [will] like it with me or not, but I just hope they tune in and give it a chance."
When asked how middle-aged female viewers might react to his smooch with Matt Lauer on Today this morning, the King of All Media turned it into a jokingly blunt assessment of his appeal.
"I think a lot of middle-aged women were throwing up when I was making out with Matt Lauer," quipped Stern. "But I want those women to tune into America's Got Talent…And I'd like to bring more people to the table. I'd like people to see me in a different element, and that's kind of exciting too, that I'm being exposed to a different audience."
So what does the radio man think of the talent-evaluating acumen of, say, American Idol's Jennifer Lopez or Britney Spears, who just signed a deal to judge The X-Factor next season? Not much of either, apparently.
"Well, I think it's a wonderful decision. Britney still thinks the earth is flat," joked Stern. "I don't anticipate great opinions from her. I think she's gonna sit there like J.Lo, 'Oh, you're wonderful, you're terrific. You think I can get a perfume endorsement out of this?'...I'll tune in to see what kind of trainwreck she is."
Reps for Spears and Lopez were unavailable for comment.
Regarding complaints from the Parents Television Council—which is urging sponsors to stop advertising with America's Got Talent alleging Stern will drag family hour into the gutter—Howard was nonplussed.
"Some guy sitting in his basement calling himself Parents Television Council, you know. I don't think there's more than 25 people in this thing. I think it's a money-raising racket," said Stern. "But having said that, they're entitled to their opinion. They just sound awfully foolish when they haven't seen the show."
Here's a brief roundup of some of Stern's best bytes from today's publicity appearance.
On going back to work for his old nemesis, NBC:
• "When NBC first asked me to actually be a judge on America's Got Talent, I was sure they'd made some kind of mistake," he remarked. "[But] now that I've been on the road...and I'm part of the AGT family…they've been nothing but wonderful, the experience has been wonderful."
On his most No. 1 goal as a judge:
• "If I sit there in a beautiful dress and just tell them they're wonderful, they're not gonna get anywhere. It's my job…to make sure they get to the next level and be honest with them and tell them it's not happening for them. And I'm not doing it to be mean, I'm doing it to be helpful and constructive."
On rumors Howie's jealous of the new judge:
• "He's just a real guy, and he relates to people. Howie's been wonderful, there's been all kinds of things in the tabloid press that Howie and I don't get along, we get along fine," said Stern, adding that he has the utmost respect for both him and Sharon.
On the craziest routine he's seen so far:
• "During one of these auditions, a guy comes out and his act is getting kicked in the nuts…Well, the guy comes out with three guys, he takes off his pants, you can see he's not wearing a cup, and they start to kick him in the balls," the ever-outspoken Stern recalled, comparing it to The Three Stooges. "So I said to the guy, 'Look, I'm gonna put you through to the next round and see. You gotta keep stepping it up.'"
Last but not least, Howard told E! News he didn't rule out having former sidekick and pal Artie Lange back on The Howard Stern Show. Lange left the show after his suicide attempt two years ago.
"Well, you never know. Artie is a dear, dear coworker, friend, love the guy. He spent many years on our show. And I...felt rather foolish I didn't know he was having problems to the level he was having. I felt a little naïve about that," said Stern. "And I think when it comes to Artie and anybody who has a problem, I felt that it was so severe and what happened, that I didn't even think I could approach it on the radio just yet. I wanted to make sure that Artie felt good. You know, it's really more about Artie than me. And I just wish him well. I just want him to have a glorious, joyous life and I really mean that."