America’s Got Talent is being accused of hiring controversial XM radio host Howard Stern as an act of desperation. E! Online reports that the Parents Television Council has lodged a complaint against the NBC network for hiring Stern. PTC in a statement said, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern—a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity—as a judge on a prime-time talent competition”.
This move while shocking to most isn’t as surprising as you might think. Consider the judges of America’s Got Talent past and present. David “the Hoff” Hasslehoff became infamous during his run for being filmed drunk in a viral video. Sharon Osbourne is most notable for being the wife of Ozzy. She was also the matriarch for the reality show hijinks's of her family on The Osbournes. Even Piers Morgan has found his way into a scandal or two as a former tabloid reporter.
Howard Stern has always pushed boundaries and hold the record for largest FCC fine. The total for shows broadcast on FM radio from 1990- 2004 totals 2 million. In 2005 Stern moved to satellite radio which is not regulated. In the statement from the Parent Television Council, NBC was named as a proponent of a new regulation to allow the use of the F-Word at any time of day.
Is this a case of the chicken or the egg. Was NBC already committed to hiring Stern for America’s Got Talent and decide to push for the law? Or did NBC commit itself afterwards to protect itself from any F bombs that may come from Stern on air. Perhaps this isn’t a leap forward for free speech, but a way of circumventing liability and skirting the FCC.
Either way Howard Stern has already find support from his fellow America’s Got Talent judges. Howie Mandel tweeted, “"I think u will." in response to a fan who said he would no longer watch the show. Do you agree? Will you continue to watch the show?