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Howard Stern signs on for second season of ‘America’s Got Talent’

Credit: NBC

Howard Stern announced today, on his SiruisXM radio show, that he would be returning for another season of America’s Got Talent. The show was not only summer’s top series among adults 18-49, it topped the summer in total viewers for a seventh consecutive summer. Not that Stern led to much of an increase in viewership, as numbers remained relatively steady with the shock jock’s arrival on the judging panel. However, I suppose you could attribute the show’s slightly edgier tone to Stern’s presence, if “edgy” means making seven year-olds cry.

“Howard’s infectious enthusiasm for the show was felt by contestants and viewers alike because he’s truly a fan of ‘America’s Got Talent,'” said executive producer Trish Kinane. “We’re auditioning now nationwide to bring the best new talent before the judges, and we look forward to more of Howard’s passionate views as we welcome him back for another great season.”

I’m of the mind that high-profile celebrity judging panels are far past the point of being relevant to a show’s success, as the presence of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato hasn’t meant much to The X Factor, and I sincerely doubt that the presence of Shakira and Usher will make The Voice any more or less of a massive, network-saving hit than it already is. American Idol will probably see a small bump from the combination of its three new A-list judges, and all the attendant drama of the feud between two of them (I’ve been following this feud for months, and I’m still not sure why, exactly, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj hate each other so much – and I’m not even entirely sure that I care, at this point). That said, a small ratings bump isn’t going to instantly translate to the show going back to season two ratings numbers, so it’ll be hard to tell at this point whether the cost of these judges’ new contract will be offset by what they contribute to the show. If nothing else, American Idol is still the most successful singing competition in terms of creating new stars, as Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips are pretty much the only platinum-selling winners among the “big three” singing competitions on US television.

That said, at least America’s Got Talent is nailing down the judging panel for this coming season, as the show is just days away from hitting the road to audition cities across the country, continuing well into winter. The schedule:

Birmingham (December 10)
Memphis (December 11)
Nashville (December 13)
Savannah (December 14)
Raleigh (December 15)
Norfolk (December 16)
San Antonio (January 12 and 13)
Columbus (Jan 19 and 20)
Chicago (January 26 and 27)
New York (Feb 1 and 2)
New Orleans (Feb 15 and 16)

(Guess I’d better buy myself some new items to juggle for the auditions. And also learn how to juggle.)

Series creator Simon Cowell, who doesn’t seem to recognize that the A-list aspect of the judging panel probably doesn’t matter anymore, commented on Stern’s contract renewal:

“I’m delighted Howard is returning to the ‘America’s Got Talent’ judging panel,” Cowell says. “I really believe he and ‘AGT’ will find the next great talent capable of global success. This show was made to uncover incredible talent of all types and ages, and has launched some massively successful careers all over the world. So America’s relying on you Howard – no pressure!”

Because clearly, as Howard Stern goes, so goes the country.

Full story: HitFix

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