Simon Cowell: Howard Stern will shake up 'America's Got Talent'
The shock jock's hiring announced last week is just part of a total makeover for the NBC summer hit, including a yet-to-be picked fourth judge, according to creator and executive producer Simon Cowell. Stern, who joins Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, will replace British host Piers Morgan, who left to focus on his CNN talk show.
"Having two Brits and one American on 'America's Got Talent' actually was ridiculous in hindsight," Cowell said in a weekend interview with Show Tracker. "I want to bring on a fourth judge as well, definitely an American. And I want somebody who understands what a Vegas crowd would pay good money to judge."
Cowell has been unhappy that "AGT" hasn't created more stars like 11-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho. "I don't think the show over the years has done a good enough job at finding what I would have liked," he said. "The ratio between hit and miss, it's not good enough at the moment.
"I hope that with Howard's name - and we'll see what his skill set is like - you can spot that little diamond and help turn them into a star. I don't think the judges have done enough in the past at actually assisting them in the next rounds....We've got to change that."
"It's all gotten a little too safe, too predictable," Cowell added. "It all needs a shakeup."
Stern has seldom been accused of being too safe, what with his obsessions with sex and bodily functions and in-depth interviews with porn stars. But Cowell says Stern won't be quite as outrageous as some fans (and detractors) might expect.
"He can't," Cowell said. "He knows the rules. Will he be controversial? Yes, because he's Howard Stern. He thinks he can do a better job than the people currently doing it.
"I love the fact that he's survived all these decades," Cowell added. "He really understands what Americans like and he's not afraid."
---Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)
Photo: Howard Stern is joining "America's Got Talent." Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images