This wasn't necessarily what they call a "sure bet," but the deal is done: Howard Stern will return as a judge to "America's Got Talent" next season.
NBC made the announcement earlier, while Stern also said on the air this morning that he'll be back. 'Course, it now remains to be seen who he'll be sitting next to. Sharon Osbourne has left the series, while Howie Mandel is not yet confirmed to return either. Could Carmen Electra be a new judge? To quote Mike, that's what she said (check out clip, below...)
Why not a "sure bet" re: Stern? Simply because ratings fell this past season, but why blame Stern? Maybe viewers, en masse, simply said "why are we watching this bad excuse for a circus .?.?. this towering mound of velveeta .?.?. this schlock .?.?. don't we have something better to do? Like walk the dog? .?.?." In fact - snark aside - Stern's edition launched mid-May, right smack in the middle of sweeps, while the previous season launched after sweeps had ended. The competiion was simply much much toughter ("Dancing with the Stars") and the show never recovered.
(And check Howard's reasons for returning this - below - he insists that there's a superstar to be discovered; OK. Norted. Plus, Robin says that Carmen Electra will be the new judge...]
Stern however was perfect for the show, and its spirit, so he wasn't the problem. Meanwhile, Osbourne was on "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Friday, and she wasn't of a mind to blame him either. When Morgan pressed her with this: "I got the feeling it got a bit uncomfortable not being able to be the real Howard Stern because of the nature of a family show like ‘America’s Got Talent.' " She pressed back with this: “I adore him .?.?. I thought he handled himself really well cause we know him as the Howard Stern off radio and he’s a big old softy. He’s a big old softy."
Here's the NBC (over) statement, via reality chief Paul Telegdy:
"Howard Stern’s towering presence and opinions on last season’s show as a new judge made a dramatic impact and added a sharper edge to the fascinating developments on stage. We know that Howard believes in America’s Got Talent — which remains America’s top-rated summer series — and that dedication comes across in a genuine way to our viewers who share his passion about our amazing talent competition.”