After months of hype (and weeks of backlash from the PTC) concerning the debut of controversial new judge Howard Stern, America's Got Talent returned last night... to sixteen percent lower numbers than last year's season premiere.
This can't be at all what NBC was expecting. They bet millions of dollars that the addition of Stern would revive the declining ratings trends for AGT, but it would appear that NBC might have made a mistake. Now, it's obviously too soon to deem "The King Of All Media"'s judging stint a failure, but the fact that the ratings actually dropped a double digit amount is certainly cause for network execs to begin worrying.
Some critics seem to think that the problem was that NBC reigned Howard in too much. Other than one off-color penis joke, Stern played it nice and safe for the majority of the broadcast, and that may not be what his fans expected from the world's most successful shock jock. Quarter hour totals show that more people tuned out as the show went on, which would support the hypothesis that Stern just wasn't delivering what people came to see.
However, there are other mitigating factors to consider before one can place the blame solely on Howard. Last year saw the premiere episode air weeks after the end of the regular TV season, making AGT one of the only options viewers had for new network programming. Last night saw Talent's premiere face off against the season finales of such popular shows as How I Met Your Mother, Two And A Half Men, Mike And Molly, Bones, Gossip Girl, Hawaii Five-O, Hart Of Dixie, and the season premiere of The Bachelorette. That's definitely some stiff competition to open against.
Did you watch Howard Stern's debut on America's Got Talent? If so, did you enjoy it? Or do you think NBC jumped the gun when they agreed to pay Stern a salary in the eight figure range?
Writer's note: Can't I go one article without someone trolling me? I'm reporting the news, nothing wirtten here was my personal opinion, and if it was I would present it as such. The fact that anyone could conclude from reading this article that I am anti-Howard Stern is simply beyond me. And telling me to jump off a cliff? Really? That's pretty childish.