Page Six of the New York Post has reported this morning that "American Idol" has approached Howard Stern to replace Simon.
My response: Why not?
So, this morning, let's take this story at face value - that indeed it's true, and that Stern has - as he said last week - been approached by a "major show."
Said he, per the transcript in the Post: "I was approached by a major TV network to take over a TV show and leave here and do that next year - and I did turn it down."
What's intriguing here - again, if true, and I certainly believe it to be because Page 6 is normally very accurate and don't forget who owns the Post - is the thinking process at Fox and "Idol." Similar to when Paula left, a mad scramble has begun. They seem to have no idea how to replace Cowell and have entered the realm of guesswork and frantic brainstorming.
"Howard might be available?! Let's go after Howard!!"
It's sad, really.
In any event, I love lists, and here are my top five reasons why Stern would be a brilliant choice; and five why this would be a dreadful franchise-ending blunder.
Nothing like balance...
1.) Stern is Stern - a say-whatever-comes-to-mind personality who would add unpredictability to a process that has become almost deadening in its utter predictability.
2.) Stern would be newsworthy. Anything he said, or just about anything he said, would be tweeted, blogged, written up, reported, ad naseum. Newspaper, desperate for attention and readership, would see Stern as manna from circulation heaven. It would of course make my life hell.
3.) Stern would offer the hard, blunt appraisal that SiCo offered. It would be inconceivable that he would traffic in blandishments or niceties or pleasantries.
4.) Stern knows something about music, or pop music. Anyone who listens to his show know that - though how much he's absorbed the canon of (say) Taylor Swift is up for discussion.
5.) Stern would be funny, or maybe-funny. Funny is important on "Idol." Funny is not what "Idol" has been. Even maybe-funny is better than not-funny.
1.) This would turn into Howard's own personal circus. The imbalance on the panel would be so extreme, so absurd, that "chemistry" would be rendered null and void.
2.) Also infinite baggage. If "Idol" were a plane, Howard would have enough carry-on baggage to fill every overhead compartment - twice over. Years and years of controversy have accrued to Stern - he is controversy writ huge. He is a walking talking human stalk of controversy. In the context of a satellite radio show, that's a massive benefit. In the context of a commercial TV show designed - primarily - for the sale of advertising, it would be fatal.
3.) Let's talk about advertising here, because of course Coke is the chief sponsor - one of 'em anyway - and the words "Coke" and "Howard Stern" do not mix. Coke is looking for that "feel good" "wholesome teen" "striving against the odds" blah blah blah thing. Stern is anathema to all that Coke stands for. One of the great things about Howard, by the way!
4.) Lesbians. Not being one myself, I'm reaching here, but hasn't he been rather offensive on this subject for several decades? He would be sitting next to one on the judging panel. Now, Ellen Degeneres is a good sport, and might see the whole thing as a sort of joke. But who knows - it does seem rather awkward.
5.) As a subset to the first incredibly foolish reason, if this whole proceeding is tipped in favor of Howard and his larger than life personality, than what of the contestants on stage? Oh yes - those. We almost forgot about them.
Final verdict: On balance, I would say this is a bad idea as opposed to a good one. Please feel free to offer your observations, too.