Entertainment

Stern And Idol – Cutting Through The BS

Howard SternThe hype was at an all-time high surrounding Simon Cowell’s replacement on American Idol last week. Over the course of a few days, the King of all Media Howard Stern seemed to shoot to the top of the list. Now that the hype has died down, let’s take a look at the reality of Howard Stern becoming the top judge on American Idol.

I will be honest and tell you that I have probably watched American Idol a handful of times. On the flip side, I am a longtime listener of the Howard Stern Show. For well over twenty-years, the King of all Media has helped me wake up and get through high school, college, and the early morning workday. After a week of non-stop chatter I am ready to break it down and tell you exactly why and how this is going to go down.

The Spin – Howard Stern has been offered $100 Million to replace Simon Cowell.

Cutting through the BS – Reports are that Simon Cowell turned down the same-more money to sign a new deal. I find it extremely hard to believe that Fox would offer Howard Stern the same amount of money as the official face of Idol. This isn’t to say that Stern isn’t worth it. But, I can’t imagine Fox just throwing $100 million to an unproven commodity in this realm. I am just basing this on gut instinct, but I think this is a very inflated salary. Not too mention, Howard Stern himself mocked the salary on his show.

The Spin – Howard says he would take the gig in a heartbeat if he was going to make the kind of money being reported.

Cutting through the BS – Howard Stern talked all of last week about how he would easily take a $100 million gig for the reduced schedule that Idol would offer him as opposed to his grueling radio schedule. I don’t buy it for one minute! Howard is a very shrewd businessman. Over the last twenty-years, Howard has talked many times about turning down big money opportunities because the opportunity just wasn’t right. Howard doesn’t need the pressure of filling Simon’s shoes. Between the loss of Simon and the new X-Factor show featuring Simon and Paula Abdul, American Idol’s days are numbered. Howard has turned down a lot of money to make movies because he felt the scripts weren’t right. Deep down he has to know that this opportunity is doomed to fail. Howard has been an unequivocal success for the last several decades and will go down as a legend in radio. There is a reason he hasn’t made another movie since Private Parts. Howard will talk a good game here and like any good businessman, will listen to whatever is being offered. However, at the end of the day he knows that the person taking this job is a dead man or woman walking.

Additionally, Howard is more loyal than he lets on to his staff. He has talked often over the last several years about not wanting to abandon his crew. Obviously with a move like this, he would be leaving most if not all of his crew behind him. In the end, I think this makes the decision a no-go above anything else.

The Spin – Howard Stern doesn’t know anything about music.

Cutting through the BS – Howard may not have the qualifications of a record producer, but the second Idol hired Ellen DeGeneres, the bar was significantly lowered when it comes to being a karaoke judge. Howard defended this criticism by saying that he was a successful radio P.D. in his younger days and has discovered bands over the years. While that may be true, Howard discovered bands in an entirely different medium. Howard sporadically does a countdown of the top songs in the nation on his radio show. Howard always blasts the music (rightfully so) and rarely finds a song he likes in the current top five or top ten. The chances are that any of those musicians came on Idol, Stern would kick them to the curb. Thus, Howard really isn’t tune with the music of 2010. It doesn’t mean he isn’t qualified, it just means that really has no factual information to base his information on. Hey, I don’t need to be chef to judge bad cooking but I think you do need to know a little something about today’s music to be a credible judge on that show. Yet in all honesty I wouldn’t know the difference between a popular French dish and something that wouldn’t be all too well received in a French restaurant.

The Spin – Howard Stern is too dirty for American Idol.

Cutting through the BS – Obviously anyone that cites this as a reason for Idol not to hire Howard hasn’t listened to a full episode of the Howard Stern Show. As a listener of the show for over twenty-years, it still amazes me as to the reaction I get when I tell a non-fan that I listen to Howard. As someone that listens all week, I can tell you that Howard would be just fine on Idol. How quick that people forget that Howard not only worked under the same restrictions for over twenty-years, he also found a way to be successful while toeing the line. A typical day on the Howard Stern Show consists of Howard going through topical news, maybe interviewing a guest or two, talking about some in-staff drama, and Robin doing the news. Nobody has ever come into the studio and had sex, the show rarely has porn stars on anymore, and Howard has his own rule about cursing on the show. Sex is a very small part of the show and before critics assume he would bring sex and porn stars to American Idol, they should probably listen for an hour to the show.

The Spin – Howard Stern would be great in Simon’s seat.

Cutting through the BS – I love Howard and I have heard Howard judge plenty of singing contests on his own show, but this would not work. Howard has already played around with the idea on his show and revealed a few different things he would say and do in the chair. It all sounds funny, as a matter of a fact it sounds hysterical, but the longevity just isn’t there. I think he would be fantastic as a guest judge during the early stages when they bring all of those bad singers in there. But how many times can he tell a girl she should go into porn before it gets old? I don’t think he knows enough about singing technique to keep his shtick going all season. Simon is the captain of the ship and you need a very strong personality with serious music knowledge to hold it together. This is a big reason Howard himself only holds these kinds of contents a handful of times a year on his own show. I think Howard would have a phenomenal first week or two on the show, but it is just too much to ask of him to keep the ball rolling for an entire season in my opinion.

Additionally, I just don’t see the crossover appeal here. While a large percentage of Howard’s audience may tune in, it is not guaranteed. Only a small percentage of his fans went out to see Beer League which featured a regular co-host on his show. Not too mention that Howard’s audience consists of an entirely different demographic. They may tune in for a few minutes, but they aren’t going to stick with the show. On the flip side, the Idol viewers probably aren’t Howard fans and probably have the generic stereotype of someone that has never listened to Howard. I don’t think the crossover appeal is there on either side of the fence.

The bottom line here is that this is not a good marriage for anyone. For Howard, it is a losing proposition to attempt to replace someone as critical to a show as Simon Cowell. For Idol, it doesn’t benefit them in the long term to make the face of the show the man who most of their regular viewers consider public enemy #1. At the end of the day this is a fun story that doesn’t have a chance in the world of turning into a reality.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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