Expect Howard Stern to shake up the status quo on NBC’s summer talent series “America’s Got Talent,” but maybe not exactly how you’d expect.
Returning judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, host Nick Cannon and producer Jason Raff spoke to reporters at NBC’s summer press day to provide a preview of what’s in store from Stern. However, the king of all media himself didn’t join the party.
“He was supposed to be here in a hologram, but the projector’s at Coachella,” Mandel jokes.
The show’s upcoming audition rounds have been filmed so the chemistry with Stern is already established. “The dynamic is dynamic,” Mandel says. “The biggest word is surprise. He is so passionate about finding a star. I think America is gonna see a side of Howard they’ve never seen before. He’s a three dimensional human being. As much as being edgy and honest he’s also compassionate, emotional, serious when he wants to be. He’s a good consummate judge.”
He’s also not afraid of judging kids. “The other day an adorable child gets up and starts to rap,” Mandel says. “I’ll be honest, this kid didn’t have talent beyond being adorable. Howard being who he is, hit his buzzer on a seven year old boy. The kid heaved and collapsed in tears. Howard turned to me and said, ‘Oh my god this is not what i signed up for.’ Howard got out of his chair ran up on stage…
“And kicked him!” Osbourne interrupts.
“No! He cradled and consoled the child,” Mandel continues. “You’re seeing him doing what you think, but at the same time he’s a father, he’s a human being.”
Osbourne isn’t surprised at the notion of a kinder, gentler Stern. “I kind of think it’s really dated, the perception of Howard,” she says. “Everyone thinks he’s gonna come in and be outrageous. He comes to us as a man of great experience, especially about music. He started out as a radio station programmer, that’s his first love. He’s not a little kid trying to get attention, he’s the King of All Media.”
Stern’s filling the slot left vacant by Piers Morgan and Osbourne describes the change as “great.” They’ve already noticed a new energy during the audition round tapings, and Mandel says the audience turnout has been so big, they’ve had to turn people away.
But not everything has been smooth for Stern. “We did have a lot of Howard Stern fans in the theaters,” Raff says. “They didn’t always agree with what Howie or Sharon or Howard said. Howard is so used to his quiet studio. He said something the audience didn’t agree with and they started booing him. He was shocked.”
Osbourne promises Stern won’t disappoint viewers looking for outrageous moments. “The one thing I’ve noticed, before the show started Howard was like ‘I’m not gonna stand for this, I’m not gonna stand for that.’ Meanwhile he’s up on stage with male strippers stripping off.”
“America’s Got Talent” returns to NBC May 14 at 8 p.m. ET