Prepare for the worst and the results can only be better than you expected. That’s the lesson naysayers learned on Monday night when radio talker Howard Stern made his long-awaited debut as the new judge on “America’s Got Talent.”
Stern, a huge fan of the show who has been talking up his new gig for months on his SiriusXM satellite radio show did exactly what he promised : he was a fair, sometimes silly, sometimes harsh judge with a heart of gold and a soft spot for sappy stories. Hell, the notoriously Purell-addicted germaphobe even lumbered up onto the stage to hug a particularly sweaty, not-so-great singer after giving him a second chance at fame.
‘America’s Got Talent’ Gets Early Buzz Around Howard Stern
After dismissing the pre-debut hand-wringing by the Parents Television Council that Stern’s penchant for R-rated humor might leak over into the family-friendly show as “a foolish presumption,” Los Angeles Times writer Robert Lloyd wrote that such fretting, “sells short the show’s producers and misreads Stern, who has shown himself perfectly capable of good behavior on other people’s turf.”
Despite an introductory montage set to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” that set up his bad-boy reputation and a joke about how NBC execs must be “out of their mind” for taking a risk on him,” Lloyd said it was quickly evident that, “like fellow judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, he [Stern] meant to play the game the way the game is meant to be played, because, to a deep degree, he believes in it.”
In a headline in which it said the shock jock, “becomes a beloved uncle,” the Washington Post’s TV reviewer mixed the sweet and sour in offering backhanded praise to the radio veteran. “Somewhere along the way to the collapse of Western civilization, pioneer shock-jock Howard Stern became a sweet old man, perhaps staving off our multimedia Armageddon,” wrote critic Hank Stuever. “At least that’s the story line presented along with Stern’s canny decision to join — at a reported fee of about $20 million — NBC’s goony amateur performance competition, ‘America’s Got Talent,’ as its newest judge.”
Stuever yawned at Stern’s rehashing of old bits about his looks and the size of his manhood, and said he did “dish out a tiny bit of brutal honesty,” but mostly came to “bask in the show’s trademark combination of awkwardness, ingenuity and love” and delivered “apple-pie pronouncements more typical of presidential candidates.”
The embrace was slightly warmer at the New York Daily News, which explained that, “to appreciate Howard Stern’s debut as a judge on ‘America’s Got Talent’ Monday night, just remember this: Inviting Stern on ‘AGT’ is not like inviting the Sex Pistols to crash ‘La Traviata’ at the Met. ‘America’s Got Talent’ didn’t hire Stern to inject outrageous and wacky. It didn’t need to. It has ‘em already.”
Critic David Hinckley said that Stern settled in quickly and comfortably on the show, praising him for being honest and getting caught up in the show’s “figurative group hugs and four-handkerchief moments.” The question remains of how Stern will deal when the goofy acts are gone and he has to make tough decisions between talented acts with widely differing skills. “There was no indication he can’t do it. But all Monday proved for sure is this is the show where he belongs.” People magazine seconded those emotions, writing, “Stern showed a lot of heart and proved he’s got talent — for judging!”
Howard Stern Calls Britney Spears And Jennifer Lopez ‘Dummies’
What did you think of Stern’s debut on “Americ
o the surprise of no one who’s been paying attention to Howard Stern’s career over the years, Stern hit a home run in his debut as a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” delivering the best commentary of the night without coming close to giving the FCC an opportunity to throw a penalty flag.
From the opening montage in which Stern was clearly the star, with “Sympathy for the Devil” as his intro music, it was clear NBC had made a great move in bringing him aboard. Stern’s zingers still had sting, but he was Mister Nice Guy as often as he was Doctor Evil.
As I said when the (who-are-they-again?) Parents Television Council voiced its opposition to Stern, the guy’s a pro who knows the difference between what he can get away with on satellite radio and what he can say on prime-time network TV. Not to mention the Stern of today is a markedly different broadcaster than the Stern of 20 years ago. (For example, there’s no doubt Stern must cringe when he hears archival tapes of his 35-year-old self engaging in cheap homophoboic humor, given his exemplary stance on gay rights in 2012.)
In a glowing New York Times profile last Sunday, Stern said, “I’ve actually apologized to some people I was a real jerk to, because I feel ashamed.” And just the other day we learned Stern recently had a pleasant face-to-face encounter with Kathie Lee Gifford, who was mercilessly mocked by Team Howard back in the day.
As for Stern’s qualifications to judge talent, this is a guy who has presided over more contests than probably any host in the history of radio. Granted, many of the categories over the years can’t be mentioned here, let alone described in much detail. (Suffice to say when the competition is titled, “It’s Just Wrong!” they were not engaging in false advertising.) But he knows what works and what doesn’t.
It was a brilliant stroke by NBC to replace the very British Piers Morgan and his soccer-obsessed tweets with the uber-American Stern, who has devoted hours of his radio show to discussing the behind-the-scenes details of his treks across the country to tape episodes of what is essentially a good old-fashioned talent show, not so different from the original amateur hours on TV in the 1950s.
Stern’s media blitz also included appearances on “Today,” “The View,” Ryan Seacrest’s show, Jimmy Fallon’s show, etc. They couldn’t have gotten more publicity if they’d replaced Sharon Osbourne with Sarah Palin and Howie Mandel with a drunken, random, Philadelphia sports fan.
Judging the judge
On TV and in print, on the blogs and the traditional media sites, there was near universal praise of Stern’s debut.
“On ‘America’s Got Talent’ Howard Stern becomes a beloved uncle,” was the headline in the Washington Post.
“Stern delivered apple-pie pro-nouncements more typical of presidential candidates,” wrote the Post’s Hank Stuever, who noted that Stern hugged contestants and his fellow judges, and said to a dance troupe, “This is going to sound sappy. We are the greatest country in the world. You are everything that makes America great.”
They couldn’t have had less controversy if the King of All Bland, Seacrest himself, had been tapped as judge.
With all the talk about the “cover wars” between Time and Newsweek, you’d think it was 1982, with the news-consuming public gathered ’round newsstands and clogging up the magazine aisles at Kroch’s & Brentano’s to peruse the latest periodicals.
First we had Time’s “Are You Mom Enough?” cover, with a young mother and her nearly 4-year-old son posing for the camera while he’s attached to her breast. Newsweek tried to trump that and succeeded only in embarrassing itself by trying way too hard and calling Barack Obama “America’s First Gay President.”
A bit of perspective here. Time has a weekly circulation of some 3.3 million while Newsweek has 1.5 million — but the overwhelming majority of Time and Newsweek customers are subscribers. But when it comes to single-issue, newsstand sales, Time averages about 76,000 copies per week, while Newsweek averages only about 40,000 per issue.
Even the most provocative covers rarely generate even double those figures.
Time or Newsweek could run a photo of a “gay” President Obama standing next to a breastfeeding Jessica Simpson, and it would still affect only about 3 percent of its sales base.
Regardless of what you think of segments like “Hottest Chick with the Oldest Dude” or the “Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant,” new “America’s Got Talent” judge Howard Stern is not going to bring his X-rated antics to prime-time television.
Howard Stern Calls Britney Spears And Jennifer Lopez ‘Dummies’
Stern starts his run as a judge on the popular reality competition show on Monday (May 14) night and before viewing even one minute of his family-hour act some critics have already decided he’s going to turn the 8 p.m. hour into a non-stop cavalcade of strippers, four-letter words and bathroom humor.
If you’ve listened at all to Stern’s SiriusXM radio show over the past six months, the original radio rebel has made it clear that he has only one intention: to be the best, most honest judge on TV.
Stern is an obsessive about many things: his career-long nemesis Don Imus, his quirky bathroom habits, babysitter porn, the weight gains and losses and internecine feuds among his staff members and, yes, judges on reality series. As much as he’d love to find better uses for his time, Howard is drawn like a magnet to “American Idol,” “Dancing With the Stars” and various other shows where, frankly, he thinks the judges are lousy, lazy, dishonest and just kind of lame.
“AGT” is Stern’s chance to prove that he is willing to put up or shut up. This is the man, you may recall, who has spent decades trying to convince America that he is a poorly endowed, paunchy lover who has never satisfied a woman. How much more honest can you be?
He knows better not just as a father of three seemingly well-adjusted adult daughters, but as a professional broadcaster and 30-plus year veteran in the game. There’s a time and a place for everything and “AGT” is not the forum for the Wack Pack and the adult word of Stern. This is a guy, after all, whose first movie was a hit, but who has spent the ensuing 20-plus years reading scripts and discarding them because they didn’t ring true or feel right for him. Every move he makes is meticulously dissected, over-thought and ruminated over both on and off the air. The neurotic, locker room Howard Stern character of the radio is not the same Howard you are going to see on TV.
Because who in their right mind would humiliate a child on TV as some have suggested Stern might do? If anything, given his moral compass, Howard is more likely to go after the greedy, self-involved “Toddlers and Tiaras”-style parents that put their children up to audition for transparently selfish reasons. And who could argue with that? That’s not even mentioning the fact that “AGT” picked up the entire production and moved it to New York to accommodate Stern’s radio show. Combine that with a reported $20 million payday, and, let’s assume, an iron-clad morals clause, and there’s virtually no incentive for Stern to go off-script and try to tank the show by crossing streams with his more sordid radio world.
Why would Stern spend his life building a brand, only to go on TV and pull some kind of Andy Kaufman stunt and blow it apart just to be shocking? That’s not shocking. That’s self-destructive, bad business and frankly, just stupid.
If there’s anything I’ve learned after listening to Stern for the past two decades it’s that he will pick fights with management and complain and lash out, he will stomp his feet, vent his spleen and complain ad nauseum about being treated poorly, but he will not embarrass himself or do anything that could tarnish the legacy of what he’s so painstakingly built for himself and his audience. (Okay, Fartman was not his best moment, but still, c’mon, it was still pretty hilarious.)
He wants you to love him, needs you to love him and after hit radio shows, movies, books and television production credits, what better way to do that than to once again prove his detractors wrong and conquer the one medium he’s got left on his bucket list: star of prime time TV?
Plus, he loves to win, lives to win, and he knows that with this move he can’t lose. There’s little or no competition from other big-name shows in the summer months, the program already has a huge ratings base and any drop-off from the Stern Effect will easily be made up by his millions of fans. The curiosity factor alone (not to mention a huge, full-court ad campaign that had the normally press-averse Stern doing talk shows and New York Times interviews) will surely give the first few weeks a major ratings boost.
After years of experiments, plugging a celebrity judge into a panel is a mixed blessing at this point. Steven Tyler was kind of fun and quirky on last year’s “American Idol,” but by this season he was merely irritating and mostly just a peacocking place-filler who offered little or nothing of substance to the contestants.
Howard’s watched this, studied it and has promised that he will be a different kind of judge. “All these articles talk about how I’ve changed and I’m like, ‘Good, I hope I’ve changed,’” Stern said on his satellite radio show on Monday (May 14) about his bad-boy reputation. He’s less angry, jealous and resentful these days, but he’s also more keenly aware of what it takes to entertain and I have a feeling that, love him or hate him, if you tune in tonight you’re going to be surprised. And I guarantee you will be entertained.
Somewhere along the way to the collapse of Western civilization, pioneer shock-jock Howard Stern became a sweet old man, perhaps staving off our multimedia Armageddon. At least that’s the story line presented along with Stern’s canny decision to join — at a reported fee of about $20 million — NBC’s goony amateur performance competition, “America’s Got Talent,” as its newest judge.
Despite the predictable howls of the Parents Television Council, which fruitlessly needled the network to reconsider putting Stern on what some consider a family-friendly variety show, Monday night’s seventh-season premiere was mostly business as usual.
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Hank Stuever is The Washington Post’s TV critic and author of two books, “Tinsel” and “Off Ramp.”
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Stern, 58, is hardly the loaded pistol he used to be. By now, his self-deprecating jokes about his gawky looks and the minimal size of his manhood — shtick that Stern brought out during “America’s Got Talent,” early and often, just as he did more than 20 years ago — are as familiar as an uncle’s rehashed routines at the Thanksgiving table. Fartman is just an outrageous memory now.
This mellower Stern came to “America’s Got Talent” as a self-avowed true believer in the show’s hunt for amateurs who have something intangibly winning about their acts. He came to dish out a tiny bit of brutal honesty, but mainly he seemed to want to bask in the show’s trademark combination of awkwardness, ingenuity and love. He hugged everyone he saw. He leaped on stage to hug contestants. He tried to hug his notoriously germaphobic fellow judge, Howie Mandel. He hugged Ozzy Osbourne, the immortal rock legend who is married to Stern’s other fellow judge, the ubiquitous Sharon.
Stern delivered apple-pie pronouncements more typical of presidential candidates. When a dance troupe used glowing costumes and props to simulate dinosaurs and prehistoric plant life, Stern gushed:
“This is going to sound sappy,” he said. “We are the greatest country in the world. You are everything that makes America great.”
He’s been a little lonely, we think. He’s richer than he ever dreamed of. And although he still likes to think of himself as a marginalized provocateur, the fact is that the Howard Stern of the 1980s and ’90s has been fully validated. He poked and prodded America into frank conversations about gender, sex, bodily functions, politics, culture, art. He triumphed over his real and imagined oppressors. He lost nearly 75 percent of his listeners when he left terrestrial syndicated radio for his own gig on satellite radio, meaning that most of us would only ever hear him again when driving rental cars. But he found liberation out there, and an even more loyal audience. He had his cake and ate it, and then smeared the frosting all over Lady Liberty’s decolletage, motorboat-style.
Taking a TV judging job is the new late-career choice for the nation’s celebrity class. Some find themselves underemployed, some need the additional marketing traction and some are just bored. They all need the attention; Stern has famously admitted in the open-therapy session that is his radio show that he has a bottomless need for approval. With Monday’s announcement that Britney Spears is joining Fox’s singing show “The X Factor” as a judge along with Demi Lovato (who, at 19, might consider competition-show judging the same as declaring a major), we should probably brace ourselves for even more amateur talent shows with celebrity panels — the “Match Game” and “Hollywood Squares” of our era.
“America’s Got Talent,” then, is a natural way for Stern to rejoin whatever remains of our sense of mass culture. This is a world of strivers that never stopped dreaming of winning the school talent show. What I like about the show — corny and protracted and needless as it may be — is what Stern seems to like about it, too: Being on TV still matters to a whole lot of everyday people.
The teenage clogging crews, the terrible crooners, the tiny girl scaling her aerial silks, the bad rapping, the magician-stripper, the lady who sings with a dozen cockatiels perched on her shoulders, the guy with the arrow gun shooting at balloons held in his comely companion’s mouth. It’s America winnowed down to its least-shy denizens. A group that would definitely include Howard Stern.
Stern, who replaces (the not-at-all-missed) Piers Morgan on the judge’s panel, hammed it up for the two-hour episode, which began the arduous task of screening contestants in various cities (starting in Los Angeles, then St. Louis), forwarding some on to a semifinal in Las Vegas and delivering the bad news to countless others. Eventually, the show will move into its live phase. It only takes forever — the real hallmark of “America’s Got Talent” is its ability to drag on eternally, as if every last taxpayer and dependent child is going to get a few seconds on the screen.
On Monday’s episode, Stern at times seemed to tread into Mandel’s territory, cracking bad jokes and playfully championing the woefully off-key or insufficiently talented. At other times, Stern seemed to make good on his original billing and namesake — that of a blunt, honest judge.
“Has someone in your life said to you, ‘This isn’t for you?’ ” he asked one singer, whom the audience had already booed. “A parent, maybe?”
“My parents are dead,” the man replied.
“Did they die of embarrassment?” Stern asked.
That’s as tough and unpredictable as our Uncle Howard ever got.
Howard Allan Stern (born January 12, 1954) is an American radio personality, television host, author, actor and photographer best known for his radio show which was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2005. He gained wide recognition in the 1990s where he was labeled a “shock jock” for his outspoken and sometimes controversial style. Stern has been exclusive to Sirius XM Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service, since 2006. The son of a former recording and radio engineer, Stern wished to pursue a career in radio at the age of five. While at Boston University he worked at the campus station WTBU before a brief stint at WNTN in Newton, Massachusetts.
He developed his on-air personality when he landed positions at WRNW in Briarcliff Manor, WCCC in Hartford and WWWW in Detroit. In 1981, he was paired with his current newscaster and co-host Robin Quivers at WWDC in Washington, D.C. Stern then moved to WNBC in New York City in 1982 to host afternoons until his firing in 1985. He re-emerged on WXRK that year, and became one of the most popular radio personalities during his 20-year tenure at the station. Stern’s show is the most-fined radio program, after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued fines to station licensees for allegedly indecent material that totaled $2.5 million. Stern has won Billboard’s Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year award eight times, and is one of the highest-paid figures in radio.
Stern describes himself as the King of All Media for his ventures outside radio. Since 1987, he has hosted numerous late night television shows, pay-per-view events and home video releases. He embarked on a five-month political campaign for Governor of New York in 1994. His two books, Private Parts (1993) and Miss America (1995), spent 20 and 16 weeks respectively on The New York Times Best Seller list. The former was adapted into Private Parts (1997), a biographical comedy film that starred Stern and his radio show staff that earned $41.2 million in domestic revenue. Stern performs on its soundtrack which topped the Billboard 200 chart.
* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Career
o 2.1 Early professional radio career (1976–1981)
o 2.2 Washington and WNBC New York (1981–1985)
o 2.3 K-Rock, early television endeavors and Fartman (1985–1992)
o 2.4 Private Parts, E! show and run for Governor (1993–1994)
o 2.5 Miss America and Private Parts film (1995–1997)
o 2.6 Return to Saturday night television and productions (1998–2004)
o 2.7 Satellite radio and America’s Got Talent (2004–present)
* 3 FCC fines
* 4 Personal life
* 5 Filmography
o 5.1 Films
o 5.2 Home video releases
o 5.3 Television
* 6 Discography
* 7 Bibliography
* 8 References
* 9 Sources
* 10 External links
 Early life and education
Stern graduated from the College of Public Communications at Boston University in 1976.
Stern was born on January 12, 1954 into a Jewish family who lived in Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City. His parents Ben and Ray (née Schiffman) are children of Austro-Hungarian immigrants, and his sister Ellen is four years older than he. The family moved to the hamlet of Roosevelt on Long Island in 1955, where Stern developed an interest in radio at five years of age. While Ray was a homemaker and later an inhalation therapist, Ben was a co-owner of Aura Recording, Inc., a recording studio in Manhattan where cartoons and commercials were produced. When he made occasional visits with his father, Stern witnessed actors Wally Cox, Don Adams and Larry Storch voice his favorite cartoon characters, which influenced him to later talk on the air rather than play records. Ben was also an engineer at WHOM, a radio station in Manhattan. On completion of sixth grade, Stern left Washington-Rose Elementary School for Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School. In June 1969, the family moved to nearby Rockville Centre and Stern transferred to South Side High School.
Stern spent the first two of four years at Boston University in the College of Basic Studies. In 1973, he started to work at WTBU, the campus radio station where he spun records, read the news, and hosted interviews. He also hosted a comedy program with three fellow students called The King Schmaltz Bagel Hour. Stern gained admission to the School of Public Communications in 1974 and earned a diploma in July 1975 at the Radio Engineering Institute of Electronics in Fredericksburg, Virginia which allowed him to apply for a first class FCC radio-telephone license. With the license, Stern made his professional debut at WNTN in Newton, Massachusetts, performing airshift, newscasting and production duties between August and December 1975. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University in May 1976 with a degree in Communications and now funds a scholarship at the university.
See also: The Howard Stern Show, Howard Stern television shows, and Howard Stern videography and discography
 Early professional radio career (1976–1981)
After his graduation in 1976, Stern declined an offer to work evenings at WRNW, a progressive rock station in Briarcliff Manor, Westchester County, New York. He was unsure of his talent, and questioned his future in the professional industry. Stern took creative and media planning roles at Benton & Bowles, a New York advertising agency, followed by a job in selling radio time to advertisers. He realized the mistake of declining on-air work and contacted WRNW a second time where he agreed to work covering shifts over the Christmas holiday period. Stern was hired full time in 1977 and worked a four-hour midday shift, six days per week a $96 weekly salary. He subsequently worked as the station’s production and program director for an increased salary of $250.
In 1979, Stern spotted an advertisement for a “wild, fun morning guy” at rock station WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut. He submitted a more outrageous audition tape with Robert Klein and Cheech and Chong records mixed with flatulence routines and one-liners. Stern was hired with no change in salary with a more intense schedule. After four hours on the air he voiced and produced commercials for another four. On Saturdays, following a six-hour show, he did production work for the next three. As the station’s public affairs director he also hosted a Sunday morning talk show which he favoured. In the summer of the 1979 energy crisis, Stern held a two-day boycott of Shell Oil Company which attracted media attention. Stern left WCCC a year later after he was declined a pay increase. Fred Norris, the overnight disc jockey, has been Stern’s producer and writer since 1981.
Management at rock outlet WWWW in Detroit, Michigan praised Stern’s audition tape in their search for a new morning man. Stern was hired for the job which he started on April 21, 1980. He learned to become more open on the air and “decided to cut down the barriers…strip down all the ego…and be totally honest”, he later told Newsday. His efforts earned him a Billboard award for “Album-Oriented Rock Personality of the Year For a Major Market” and the Drake-Chenault “Top Five Talent Search” title. The station however, ran into problems after Stern’s quarterly Arbitron ratings had decreased while it struggled to compete with its stronger rock competitors. In January 1981, WWWW switched to a country music format much to Stern’s dislike, who left the station soon after. He received offers to work at WXRT in Chicago and CHUM in Toronto, but did not take them.
 Washington and WNBC New York (1981–1985)
Stern moved to Washington, D.C. to host mornings at rock station WWDC on March 2, 1981. He wanted to develop his show further, and looked for a co-worker with a sense of humor to riff with on news and current events. The station paired Stern with Robin Quivers, a newscaster and consumer affairs reporter from WFBR in Baltimore. Though he felt restricted and controlled by management who enforced a strict format, Stern had the second highest rated morning radio program in January 1982. Impressed with his ratings success, NBC approached Stern with an offer to work afternoons at WNBC in New York City. After Stern signed a five-year contract worth $1 million in March, his relationship with WWDC management worsened, and his contract with the station was terminated on June 25. He had more than tripled the station’s morning ratings during his stay. In its July issue The Washingtonian named Stern the area’s best disc jockey. Stern released 50 Ways to Rank Your Mother, a comedy album of his radio bits. The record was re-released as Unclean Beaver in November 1994.
On April 2, 1982, a news report by Douglas Kiker on raunch radio featuring Stern aired on NBC Magazine. The piece stimulated discussion among NBC management to withdraw Stern’s contract. When he began his afternoon program in September, management closely monitored Stern, telling him to avoid talk of a sexual and religious nature. In his first month, Stern was suspended for several days for “Virgin Mary Kong”, a segment featuring a video game where a group of men pursued the Virgin Mary around a singles bar in Jerusalem. An attorney was hired to man a “dump button”, and cut Stern off the microphone should potentially offensive areas be discussed. This became the task of program director Kevin Metheny, who Stern nicknamed “Pig Virus”. On May 21, 1984, Stern made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, launching him into the national spotlight. A year later he claimed the highest ratings at WNBC in four years with a 5.7% market share.
On September 30, 1985, Stern and Quivers were fired for what management termed “conceptual differences” regarding the show. “Over the course of time, we made a very conscious effort to make Stern aware that certain elements of the program should be changed…I don’t think it’s appropriate to say what those specifics were”, said program director John Hayes, who Stern nicknamed “The Incubus”. In 1992, Stern believed Thornton Bradshaw, chairman of WNBC’s owner RCA, heard his “Bestiality Dial-a-Date” segment and ordered his firing. Stern and Quivers kept in touch with their audience throughout October and November where they toured club venues with a stage show.
 K-Rock, early television endeavors and Fartman (1985–1992)
Stern signed a contract with Infinity Broadcasting worth around $500,000 and returned to afternoons on its New York rock station WXRK on November 18, 1985. The show moved to mornings on February 18, 1986 and entered national syndication on August 18 when WYSP in Philadelphia first simulcast the program. In October 1992, Stern became the first to have the number one morning radio show in New York and Los Angeles simultaneously. In the New York market The Howard Stern Show was the highest-rated morning program for seven consecutive years between 1994 and 2001. In 1994, Billboard magazine added the “Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year” category to its annual radio awards based on entertainment value, creativity and ratings success. Stern was awarded the title from 1994 to 2002.
In May 1987, Stern recorded five television pilots for Fox when the network planned to replace The Late Show hosted by Joan Rivers. The series was never picked up; one executive having described the show as “poorly produced”, “in poor taste” and “boring”. Stern hosted his first pay-per-view event on February 27, 1988 named Howard Stern’s Negligeé and Underpants Party. Over 60,000 homes purchased the two-hour special that grossed $1.2 million. On September 7, 1989, over 16,000 fans packed out Nassau Coliseum for Howard Stern’s U.S. Open Sores, a live event that featured a tennis match between Stern and his radio show producer, Gary Dell’Abate. Both events were released for home video. From 1990 to 1992, Stern was the host of The Howard Stern Show, a Saturday night program on WWOR-TV. The series ran for 69 episodes to 65 markets nationwide. In February 1991, Stern released Crucified by the FCC, a collection of censored radio segments following the first fine issued to Infinity by the FCC over alleged indecency. He released a third video tape, Butt Bongo Fiesta, in October 1992 that sold 260,000 copies for a gross of over $10 million. He returned to Saturday night television that November with The Howard Stern “Interview”, a one-on-one celebrity interview series on E!.
Stern appeared at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards as Fartman, a fictional superhero that first appeared in the National Lampoon humor magazine series. According to the trademark he filed for the character that October, he first used Fartman in July 1981. Stern rejected multiple scripts for a proposed summer 1993 release of The Adventures of Fartman until a verbal agreement was reached with New Line Cinema. Screenwriter J. F. Lawton had prepared a script before relations soured over the film’s rating, content and merchandising rights and the project was abandoned.
 Private Parts, E! show and run for Governor (1993–1994)
In 1993, Stern signed a $1 million advance contract with Simon & Schuster to publish his first book. Co-authored with Larry Sloman and edited by Judith Regan, the release of Private Parts on October 7 saw its first printing of 225,000 copies being sold within hours of going on sale. It became the fastest-selling title in the history of Schuster after five days. In its eighth printing two weeks later, over one million copies had been distributed. Stern embarked on a book signing tour that attracted an estimated 10,000 fans at a Barnes & Noble store on Fifth Avenue in New York. In its first run, Private Parts spent 20 weeks on The New York Times Best-Seller list. Stern has written forewords for Steal This Dream (1998), a biography of Abbie Hoffman, Disgustingly Dirty Joke Book (1998) by Jackie Martling, Too Fat to Fish (2008) by Artie Lange, and Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox (2010) by Greg Fitzsimmons.
Stern hosted his second pay-per-view event, The Miss Howard Stern New Year’s Eve Pageant, on December 31, 1993. It broke the subscriber record for a non-sports event previously held by a New Kids on the Block concert in 1990. Around 400,000 households purchased the event that grossed an estimated $16 million. Stern released the program on VHS in early 1994 as Howard Stern’s New Year’s Rotten Eve 1994. Between his book royalties and pay-per-view profits, Stern’s earnings in the latter months of 1993 totalled around $7.5 million. In its 20th anniversary issue in 1993, Radio & Records named Stern the most influential air personality of the past two decades.
On March 21, 1994, Stern announced his candidacy for Governor of New York under the Libertarian Party ticket, challenging Mario Cuomo for re-election. He planned to reinstate the death penalty, stagger highway tolls to improve traffic flow, and limit road work to night hours. At the party’s nomination convention in Albany on April 23, Stern won the required two-thirds majority on the first ballot, receiving 287 of the 381 votes cast (75.33%). James Ostrowski finished second with 34 votes (8.92%). To place his name on the November ballot, Stern was obliged to state his home address and to complete a financial disclosure form under the Ethics in Government Act of 1987. After declining to disclose his financial information, Stern was denied an injunction on August 2. He withdrew his candidacy two days later. Cuomo was defeated in the gubernatorial election on November 8 by George Pataki, who Stern backed. Pataki signed “The Howard Stern Bill” that limited construction on state roads to night hours in New York and Long Island, in 1995.
In June 1994, robotic cameras were installed at WXRK studios to film The Howard Stern Show for a condensed half-hour show on E!. Howard Stern ran for 11 years until the last taped episode aired on July 8, 2005. In conjunction with his move to satellite radio, Stern launched Howard Stern on Demand, a subscription video-on-demand service, on November 18. The service was relaunched as Howard TV on March 16, 2006.
 Miss America and Private Parts film (1995–1997)
On April 3, 1995, three days after the shooting of singer Selena, Stern’s comments regarding her death and Mexican Americans caused an uproar in the Hispanic community. He criticized her music and gunfire sound effects were played over her songs. “This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul…Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth”. On April 6, Stern responded with a statement in Spanish, stressing his comments were made in satire and not intended to hurt those who loved her. A day later, Justice of the Peace Eloy Cano of Harlingen, Texas issued an arrest warrant on Stern for disorderly conduct.
In 1995, Stern signed a deal with ReganBooks worth $3 million to write his second book, Miss America. He wrote about his cybersex experiences on the Prodigy service, a private meeting with Michael Jackson, and his suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Released on November 7, the book sold 33,000 copies at Barnes & Noble stores on the same day which set a new one-day record. Publishers Weekly reported over 1.39 million copies were sold by the year’s end and ranked it the third best-selling book of 1995. Miss America spent a total of 16 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.
Production for a film adaptation of Private Parts began in May 1996 with all shooting complete in four months. Its premiere was held at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden on February 27, 1997, where Stern performed “The Great American Nightmare” with Rob Zombie. Making its general release on March 7, Private Parts topped the box office sales in its opening weekend with a gross of $14.6 million, and went on to earn a total of $41.2 million in domestic gross revenue. The film holds a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates film reviews. 79% of critics gave Private Parts a positive review based on a sample of 48 reviews, with an average score of 6.6 out of 10. For his performance, Stern won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for “Favorite Male Newcomer” and was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy)” and a Golden Raspberry Award for “Worst New Star”. The soundtrack to Private Parts sold 178,000 copies in its first week of release, topping the Billboard 200 chart.
Stern filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Ministry of Film Inc. in October 1997, claiming it recruited him for a film titled Jane starring Melanie Griffith while knowing it had insufficient funds. Stern, who was unpaid when production ceased, accused the studio of breach of contract, fraud and negligent representation. A settlement was reached in 1999 with Stern receiving $50,000.
 Return to Saturday night television and productions (1998–2004)
In August 1998, Stern returned to Saturday night television with The Howard Stern Radio Show. Broadcast across the country on CBS affiliates, it featured radio show highlights along with material unseen in his nightly E! show. The show competed for ratings with comedy shows Saturday Night Live on NBC and MADtv on Fox. Concerned with its risqué content, affiliates began to leave the show after two episodes. Making its launch on 79 stations on August 22, 1998, this number was reduced to 55 by June 1999. A total of 84 episodes were broadcast. The final re-run aired on November 17, 2001, to around 30 markets.
In 1994, Stern launched the Howard Stern Production Company for original and joint production and development ventures. He intended to make a film adaptation of Brother Sam, the biography of the late comedian Sam Kinison. In September 1999, UPN announced the production of Doomsday, an animated science-fiction comedy series executively produced by Stern. Originally set for a 2000 release, Stern starred as Orinthal, a family dog. The project was eventually abandoned. From 2000 to 2002, Stern was the executive producer of Son of the Beach, a sitcom which ran for three seasons on FX. In late 2001, Howard Stern Productions was reportedly developing a new sitcom titled Kane. The pilot episode was never filmed. In 2002, Stern acquired the rights to comedy films Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) and Porky’s (1982). He filed a $100 million lawsuit in March 2003 against ABC and the producers of Are You Hot?, claiming the series was based on his radio segment called “The Evaluators”. A settlement was reached on August 7.
Stern announced in early 2004 of talks with ABC to host a prime time interview special, which never materialized. In August 2004, cable channel Spike picked up 13 episodes of Howard Stern: The High School Years, a second animated series Stern was to executive produce. On November 14, 2005, Stern announced the completion of episode scripts and 30 seconds of test animations. Stern eventually gave the project up. In 2007, he explained the episodes could have been produced “on the cheap” at $300,000 each, though the quality he demanded would have cost over $1 million. Actor Michael Cera was cast as the lead voice.
 Satellite radio and America’s Got Talent (2004–present)
Following Stern’s move to Sirius, he assembled the Howard 100 News team.
On October 6, 2004, Stern announced the signing of a five-year contract with Sirius Satellite Radio, a medium free from FCC regulations, that started in January 2006. His decision to leave terrestrial radio occurred in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in February that caused a crackdown on perceived indecency in broadcasting. The incident prompted tighter control over content by station owners and managers to which Stern felt “dead inside” creatively. Stern hosted his final broadcast on terrestrial airwaves on December 16, 2005. During his 20 years at WXRK his show had syndicated in 60 markets across the United States and Canada and gained a peak audience of 20 million listeners.
With an annual budget of $100 million for all production, staff and programming costs, Stern launched two channels on Sirius in 2005 named Howard 100 and Howard 101. He assembled the Howard 100 News team that covered stories about his show and those associated with it, and a new dedicated studio was constructed at Sirius’ headquarters in New York. On January 9, 2006, the day of his first broadcast, Stern and his agent received 34.3 million shares of stock from the company worth $218 million for exceeding subscriber targets set in 2004. A second stock incentive was paid in 2007, with Stern receiving 22 million shares worth $82.9 million.
On February 28, 2006, CBS Radio (formerly Infinity Broadcasting) filed a lawsuit against Stern, his agent and Sirius. The suit claimed Stern had misused CBS broadcast time to promote Sirius for unjust enrichment during the last 14 months of his terrestrial radio contract. In a press conference held hours before the suit was filed, Stern said it was nothing more than a “personal vendetta” against him by CBS president Leslie Moonves. A settlement was reached on May 25, with Sirius paying $2 million to CBS for control of Stern’s 20-year broadcast archives. In the same month, Time magazine included Stern in its Time 100 list. He also ranked seventh in Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list in June 2006, and reappeared in 2011 at number 26.
Stern signed a new contract with Sirius to continue his show for five more years in December 2010. Following the agreement, Stern and his agent filed a lawsuit against Sirius on March 22, 2011, for allegedly failing to pay stock bonuses promised to them from the past four years while helping the company exceed subscriber growth targets. Sirius said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the suit. On April 17, 2012, New York Judge Barbara Kapnick “granted a SiriusXM motion for summary judgment, dismissing the lawsuit.”
In May, Stern announced that he would be broadcasting on a reduced schedule, alternating between three-day and four-day working weeks. On December 15, 2011, Stern announced that he will replace Piers Morgan as a judge for the seventh season of America’s Got Talent. Filming will take place in New York and will start in February 2012.