'America's Got Talent': Fans embrace Howard Stern debut
"I forgot how much I love Howard Stern," tweeted @OptiMISS_Prime.
"Never was a fan of Howard Stern but gotta say I'm loving him on the show," added @ShammyCW, expressing a point of view widely shared on Twitter.
Stern, the Sirius XM shock jock famed for his naughty ways, replaced Piers Morgan as the third judge on the show, which has for years been among summer's top-rated programs. The other judges are Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel.
Before the premiere, speculation had centered on whether Stern's R-rated sensibility -- porn stars and flatulence are among his favorite obsessions -- would fit with a prime-time broadcast talent show. Based on the initial reaction, viewers seem to think so.
On Monday's show, Stern was sometimes surprisingly warm, at one point climbing onstage to dance with Simply Sergio, a singer whose wobbly audition was redeemed by an impromptu version of "God Bless America." But he was also at times brutal. When one unfortunate contestant reported this his parents had passed away, Stern cracked: "Did they die of embarrassment?"
Not everyone is offering the thumbs-up, of course.
"Reading a pile of positive laudatory reviews of Howard Stern on America's Got Talent tonight," tweeted @mediageek. "Did we see the same show?"
But that was a minority opinion. Many viewers seemed to believe that NBC had succeeded in reinvigorating the show.
"Adding Howard Stern to #AGT seems to have been the best thing @NBC has done this year," tweeted @TheJustinColman.
What did you think of Stern on "AGT"?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Host Nick Cannon, left, with Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel on "America's Got Talent." Credit: Mark Seliger / NBC