“Idol” producers want Stern to replace Cowell?


Could Howard Stern replace Simon Cowell on the judging panel at Fox’s “American Idol”? The New York Post reports that Idol’s producers have made a pitch to the “King of All Media.”

With his Sirius XM contract set to expire in a few months, Stern has let it be known that he is opening to considering various offers. According to the Post story, Stern is the first choice of Idol’s producers to fill the shoes of “nasty” judge Cowell, as he exits after the current season to launch the US version of “The X Factor” in 2011, also a talent competition and also on Fox.

An insider tells The NY Post that producers of the hit Fox show say Stern is their top choice to take over from Cowell, who leaves at the end of this season. They approached the King of All Media after he repeatedly mentioned on-air that his exclusive Sirius XM Radio deal expires next January and he was open to other offers. Cowell was paid $50 million a year.

A source connected to “Idol” told the paper, “It’s one of the few shows that could compete with Stern’s $100 million-a-year Sirius contract, and ‘Idol’ bosses think he’d be even nastier than Simon. They know he would be great TV and would clash with the other judges such as Ellen DeGeneres and the contestants. ‘Idol’ will do what it takes to sign him.”
But a second source told the Post Stern hasn’t made the “Idol” talks easy, and has been giving out mixed messages about his intentions: “Despite what he’s been saying on-air, Howard isn’t ready to leave radio and would like to stay on at Sirius. We believe this is a ploy to make Sirius pay up and keep him on his huge contract. But if Sirius can’t pay him the money he wants, he may negotiate to film ‘Idol’ on the side.”
However, Stern is also believed to be reluctant to commit to a show that would require him to tour the US as a judge and spend much of the year in LA. He recently said: “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 . . . I’m not even sure if I want to be working. I’m waiting to see what happens.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Not a bad idea, actually. Cowell was unknown in America when Idol began nine seasons ago, but is now a marquee name for Fox to replace. Stern would fill the bill in bringing new star-power to the franchise. He’s certainly opinionated and knows what works in pop music from many years as a DJ.

Simple. Stern and his agent Don Buchwald will entertain many offers and decide which is/are best for him. This is definitely something Stern will consider. Don’t be surprised if he does it. The King of All Media loves the limelight and this is something totally new for him. If he stays at Sirius, it could well be for less money – and less hours/days per week. He may just do both and make more money than he ever did.

He might even command an even bigger paycheck from Idol than Cowell!