Over the weekend, word broke that Jay Leno is not being renewed in 2014 to make room for the younger Jimmy Fallon in “The Tonight Show” spot. But sources tell The NY Post that Stern, in turn, is being “groomed” by NBC as the new Fallon, who currently hosts “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” right after The Tonight Show.
Stern apparently loves his judging gig on “America’s Got Talent,” but Howard has been trying to show TV suits for years that he’s the whole package — as opposed to the one he talks about on the radio. He’s shown on the popular “AGT” that he can act like a grown-up and play well with others, if the money’s right.
And, according to a NY Post source, the suits at NBC have gotten the message. But why, then, would NBC hire Stern, who is not only just three years younger than Leno but is too old in TV years to even appeal to himself?
Stern’s younger wife Beth Ostrosky Stern, told The Post’s Sean Daly that, “We were in a hotel and all these little kids recognize him now as the judge from ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Usually it’s their dads. But now it is screaming little kids. People are now seeing him for who he really is.”
So now that he’s acceptable for prime time, is he ready for late night? “I always say that to him! He is one of the best interviewers out there,” Beth said.
So can she talk him into trying his hand at staying up late? “I am going to!” she said.
Not that it would take much urging since he’s already tried late-night TV several times before — but always with mixed results. In 1987, in an attempt to replace Joan Rivers’ on “The Late Show,” he made a bunch of pilots, but his show never made it to air.
From ’90 to ’92, he briefly had “The Howard Stern Show,” on Saturday nights on WWOR-TV NYC, and for 11 years, beginning in 1994, E! ran a half-hour truncated version of his radio show.
In 1998, Stern was back on Saturday nights with “The Howard Stern Radio Show” on CBS TV stations, but the content was too risque for many affiliates. Still, it lasted four years.
But that was then and this is now, when broadcast TV is testing boundaries and is getting riskier and more risque than it ever was a decade ago. So it makes sense.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s worth a try, but Howard Stern donning his radio hat on TV has typically made advertisers, networks and affiliates cringe as he pushes the envelope. Sure, he seems to be able to take the hat off when hosting AGT, but that’s a completely different venue. If he does get tapped for “Late Night,” they certainly better be ready with the seven-second delay!