Howard Stern gets nice(r) as 'America's Got Talent' auditions begin
Howard Stern came to Los Angeles last Friday to begin his tenure as "America's Got Talent's" newest judge. And, by his own admission, this may not be the Howard Stern most people expected to see.
"There were times when I was downright compassionate," Stern told KNBC-TV outside the season's first auditions, held at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A.
Stern is making the cross-country commute so he can record both the auditions and his Sirius XM satellite show in New York. He was back on the air on Tuesday raving about how much he loves his new gig. Once the audition process is over, the show itself will tape in New York City, to accommodate Stern's schedule.
Longtime Stern fans no doubt got an extra kick hearing him praise his new work family at NBCUniversal. Stern was famously fired from the radio station WNBC-AM in New York in 1985.
Stern said at the L.A. audition that he's not trying to play into any expectations about him. "You don't want to be a stereotype as a judge," he said. "You don't want to be, 'Oh, you're replacing Piers; you've got to be the mean guy, or you've got to be the guy that always hits the buzzer.' I have no preconceived notion, and I've got news for you: If you go in there and watch this taping, it is insane."
That's not to say Stern has gone all warm and Randy Jackson-ish on us. He's still got some bite. As he explained, "It's a little weird, the first day out, I buzzed a 9-year-old kid. The kid was adorable, but I did it, man, you've got to do it. I said, 'Look, you're cute, you're adorable, but, goodness gracious, you don't belong on "America's Got Talent," ' and you just feel like the devil himself."
The Parents Television Council has raised objections to Stern's addition to the program and stories like that are no doubt giving them fits.
Stern told his radio audience that "America's Got Talent" has auditions in San Francisco this weekend and a New York audition on Feb. 27.
-- Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Howard Stern in New York City in early February. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press