'Idol' Doesn't Have Bleep Button Big Enough for Stern
142 CommentsBy Kara Warner Posted Feb 9th 2010 04:50PM
While we were shocked when Simon Cowell announced his 'American Idol' departure, we were not prepared for Howard Stern to throw his hat in the ring to be considered for Cowell's old gig. At first, we thought Stern might be joking about his 'Idol' interest, but after bringing it up on his show two days in a row, it's time to consider the pros and cons of a Stern/'Idol' pairing. Entertainment Weekly Senior Writer and resident 'Idol' expert Michael Slezak likens Stern on 'Idol' to combining chocolate with cheeseburgers. "They're two great tastes," Slezak tells PopEater. "But I don't necessarily know you'd want them together. They're very popular, but I think there's a reason McDonald's has never offered a chocolate-dipped cheeseburger. I think Howard Stern and 'American Idol' are pretty much a chocolate cheeseburger." Can America handle a chocolate, Stern/'Idol' cheeseburger? Vote after the jump.
On Monday, the shock jock addressed the situation on his radio show, saying he'd accept a seat in the judges' booth for the right price. "They'd have to pay me a ton of dough because I already make a ton of dough," Stern said. "For $100 million a year, to judge a karaoke contest? Ok. Why not?"
There's no question he'd be interesting, of course, but does Fox have a bleep button strong enough to contain Stern's notoriously outlandish and controversial remarks? The shock jock thrives on his free speech and has always been outspoken about censorship and the FCC, so it strikes us odd that he thinks he'd be perfect for a network TV show and its mostly middle America-based audience.
Slezak does not think Stern's reference to the ratings juggernaut as "an f---ing karaoke contest" bodes well for his securing a long-term gig.
"I think his comments disqualified him for the position before it's even begun," Slezak says. "Say what you want about Simon, he's tough on the contestants, he's known for his pointed barbs, but he cares about the outcome of the show. It's one of the most important qualities of being a judge on that panel. You can get away with pretty much anything up there, as Simon has proven, as long as you care about the outcome and you care about the fact that the winner of this show is going to go on to do well. ... Howard Stern kind of flies in the face of that goal."
On the pro side, TV producer Michael Avila thinks Stern would provide a "massive adrenaline shot to the heart" of the show.
"He would be a tremendous 'get' for 'Idol,'" Avila tells PopEater. "He has an enormously loyal following that would very likely tune in just to hear what he would say, and he would earn whatever astronomical salary he would demand due to the press he would generate."
On the other hand, and given Stern's flair for the outrageous, Avila says Fox would be entering potentially dangerous territory in signing him. "This is a guy who built an empire around sexually primitive behavior. Imagine what he'll say to the next girl who auditions in a bikini? And can you imagine how vicious he'll be during Hollywood week? It could be awesome TV, but it could also be disastrous. Fox should start an FCC fund if they hire him."
Which, according to Slezak and his insider sources, is not likely to happen. "In conversations I've had with people close to the show, they say the process of casting a replacement for Simon has just begun," Slezak says. "There is a long list of people who are interested in the job and that there is no front-runner. It's hard to not think [Stern] is using this as a salary negotiating point."