NEW YORK New Americas Got Talent judge Howard Stern says that his critics should watch before attacking him.
Stern debuts Monday as Piers Morgans replacement on NBCs summertime talent show. Yet a group that calls attention to bad language and risqué content on television has already written to advertisers asking them to stay away. The Parents Television Council said the radio shock jocks addition will likely result in a sharp increase in explicit content.
In an hour-long, expletive-free news conference on Thursday, Stern dismissed those concerns and said that he fully understands that Americas Got Talent is a family show.
I really feel a responsibility to the people who love this show already, Stern said. In no way do I want to get in the way of it. I want to broaden it and make it better.
Stern said his critics are entitled to their opinion. They just sound awfully foolish when they havent seen the show.
Still, his reputation precedes him. Stern noted that before an appearance on The View Thursday, executive producer Bill Geddie came over to instruct Stern on what he could or couldnt say on the air. I know the rules, Stern said. Bill, Im 58 years old. I feel like Im 14 getting a lecture, he said.
NBC moved the shows base from California to Newark, N.J., to accommodate Sterns satellite radio schedule when he agreed to replace Morgan. He said he has taken the role of being the honest judge who doesnt sugarcoat things for contestants.
Stern said he was a fan of the show before being asked to be on it, preferring it to American Idol because the wider variety of acts on Americas Got Talent makes it seem like vaudeville.
I didnt need the money, he said. I didnt need more fame. I certainly feel famous enough. Im comfortable in my life. I just love the show and thought how much fun it would be to do it.
Hes paired with Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne as judges, and he offered praise of their work. He flashed attitude about some rivals, though: American Idol makes him want to throw up, he said, and host Ryan Seacrest is tired.
J.Lo, I dont even know what shes doing there, he said of American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. Of Britney Spears, under consideration as a new judge on The X Factor, he said people are going to tune in to see if she can function through the whole thing.
Stern said he thinks his radio audience is ready to see him try something new. Hes curious about how it turns out; his usual experience is turning around a low-performing asset, but in Americas Got Talent, hes joining a show that already has a successful track record.
If it doesnt work, Ill crawl back into my hole at Sirius and lick my wounds, he said. If it does work, Ill be thrilled.