Chuck Ross

Howard Stern’s an A-Hole—and Why He’s the Right Choice To Replace Simon Cowell on ‘Idol’

Feb 9, 2010

Howard Stern can be a mean-spirited a-hole. No doubt about it.

He is also one of the most brilliant, talented broadcasters I’ve ever heard. No doubt about it.

I don’t subscribe to Sirius Radio, so I have not heard Stern regularly in the past four years.

However, I was a regular listener when he was on free, over-the-air radio.

There were days when I was so upset with him for verbally abusing someone who I didn’t think deserved it that I swore I’d never listen to him again.

But a few days later there I was, again listening and laughing hysterically at something Stern said or at his antics or the antics of his gifted cohorts.

I don’t know Stern personally. Like you, I only know his public persona.

So here’s what I know. Stern is multi-dimensional. He’s colorful (duh) and smart as all get out. Yes, he can go on a rant and mercifully tear apart anyone at anytime. He can do it with some wit and biting humor or he can do it as an a-hole son of a bitch with nothing but verbal sludge and an oral sledgehammer. And while he thinks the latter might be funny and/or entertaining, it almost never comes across that way. At least it never did to me.

So what do I think about him taking over as a judge on “American Idol” when Simon Cowell leaves?

I think Stern would be a dazzling choice.

Before you decide that I’m crazy, go out and rent the movie “Private Parts.” Stern stars in it, based on his autobiography. The book came out in 1993, and the film was released in 1997.

It’s a fun, massively entertaining movie. Stern is terrific playing himself. And let’s credit Betty Thomas with a great job directing Stern and the film. If you only knew Stern from this movie, I don’t think any of you would question that he could take over for Cowell without being an inappropriate foul-mouthed scoundrel. A Simon-like scoundrel yes. And that’s that the show will need.

Stern is no stranger to TV. For many years he was on E!, but that was basically just a partly cleaned up version of his radio show, and still too raunchy for an audience with a lot of kids. And when I lived in New York in the 1990s, Stern had a comedy show on WWOR that I liked, but, again, probably not suitable for the young kid set.

But Stern could do this job, do it well, and be appropriate for kids. And it would pair Stern with a brilliant TV executive who has survived slings and arrows himself, and who I think Stern would respect and listen to: Fox’s Mike Darnell.

Ultimately, if Stern doesn’t take the job—or isn’t seriously offered it—here’s another choice I like:

Darnell himself.

Few may know this, but Mike is very musical. And I don’t know anyone with more smarts about what works on TV. Though he’s known for putting on daring and challenging programming, he may actually be too nice a man to replace Simon. Also, at this point in “Idol’s’ lifespan, it may be essential that Simon be replaced by someone who is more familiar to viewers than Darnell.

Which brings me back to Stern.

I’m a big fan of “Idol.” In our household it’s required viewing for me, my wife, our 14-year-old, our 11-year-old, and our six-year-old. If Stern took the gig I’d have no problem inviting him into our living room.

I can’t tell you the number of times, over the years, when Simon has spoken his mind and has gotten roundly booed—or attacked by the other judges for his opinion—that my wife and my kids have all looked at one another and then looked at me and we all nodded and have said, “Simon’s right.”

Next year I can easily see the new judge getting the same reaction on the show while my family and I all look at each other and say, “Stern’s right."#  


  1. Yeah, Stern is a class act. And who can’t wait for him to ask each contestant, “Do you do anal?” (which appears to be his trademark question on his radio show). Something the family can enjoy. Right.

  2. Yes, Howard is a great choice to replace Simon on American Idol. I am sure Simon himself believes this to be true.
    Of course that’s because he knows AI is going to go downhill even faster if Stern takes his spot, and his X Factor can wipe Idol off the map like it did in the UK.

  3. Howard is NOT a class act, in my opinion.
    “do you do anal?” says it all. And if they are looking for a good number of women to watch, they won’t get ’em with Howard. No way! And let the animal get really “close” to any of those teen-agers and the howl will echo throughot the industry. It’ll be like putting the wolf in the center of the sheep. They will have to have 10 “Guards” watching him 24/7. He aint worth the trouble! That’s my opinion and it’s very true!!!

  4. Howard Stern on Idol? And I have a bridge someplace. Don’t you really think this is all part of Howard’s negotiation tactics now that his contract is up?

  5. Stern is an a-hole and a thoroughly useless human being. I saw “Private Parts.” It was a great movie, but if you think for one minute that it portayed Stern as he really is, you’re an idiot. Besides his glaring personality deficits, he knows nothing about music. What Idol needs is someone with skins on the wall, someone who’s been through what these young people are going through. Long hair doesn’t prove anything. If it did, Fabio would be president.

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Howard is perfect for that show, and anyone who threatens to stop watching, won’t. They’ll watch, because to quote “Private Parts”, “They want to see what he’ll say next!”

  7. You’re a moron.

  8. You’re a tremendous moron.

  9. You’re just stupid.

  10. And you make absolutely no sense at all!

  11. @Howell, you’re a total douche. With a limited vocabulary. Oh, wait, I used a word with more than one syllable.

  12. My vocabulary could run rings around yours, whoever the hell you are, as you are afraid to put your name! And nice argument on your part. Excellent points.

  13. Let’s not lower the “Idol Bar” any lower than it has been recently. The current panel is starting to wear thin on enthusiam and experience in the music industry. The show’s producers are running out of gimmicks and fresh faces for the panel of judges. We’ve already digressed to the opinions of a day time talk show host(ess) who has no music industry background. Simon is acting like he is in the twilight of his judging career(half there mentally and emotionally) while Randy attempts to add his music expereince to the less than knowledgable panel feedback.
    There’s a big reason Howard Stern was banished from NYC airwaves and moved into the dark void of space. Raunchy and classless shock jock radio hosts will not improve Idol’s ratings and will utimately destroy the show’s credibility. If the show’s producers beleive they can boost ratings with this formula, then why not enlist Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck as judges!

  14. Chuck Ross is a …..

  15. Banished? Are you kidding me? Seriously, do you people have any clue as to the reality of the situation? This man CHOSE to go to satellite radio for a) the money, which was huge! b) the freedom to say what he wants without the unelected, politically-based, unaccountable FCC deciding on a whim what is “acceptable” to say on the radio, and c) to pioneer a new frontier, which by the way, he has, and has single-handedly saved from bankruptcy. And not to mention, what credentials are necessary to judge singers, by the way? I think that would be 2 ears that can receive sound and then evaluate it. He is perfectly qualified to be a judge on that show, and please don’t lump him in with those other right-wing nuts. Howard forgot more about Excellence in Broadcasting than those hacks will ever know!
    And Chuck, you are not! You got it right.
    How’s that for a vocabulary, douche from lower on the page?!

  16. Did you hear Stern today? Can you believe Joke Man Jackie totally dissed Artie by trying to


  18. Well Mr. Ross, if “Idol” needs the likes of Stern; then it’s just another reason for me to not watch the show.
    Talented or not, Stern is vulgar.. and will be that way for mainstream TV ‘cuz that’s his stock in trade. Shock-jock crudeness is what he’s all about. If the show producers go for this, then I will not watch.

  19. I’m a Stern fan. But American parents, whose daughters watch AI, are not going to stand for Stern hosting this show. His satellite radio show has devolved from women performing softcore exhibitionism into women performing hardcore masturbation acts.
    Stern’s a good radio and television talent … but no way on this one. You’ve completely missed the boat here.

  20. Do you not realize who the show’s core fan base is? Teenage girls, whose parents aren’t going to let them watch Stern and who mostly don’t want to, anyway.
    And the bad buzz would decimate the ratings among mainstream viewers of all ages. I don’t want to watch him.
    Have you thought about a job an an NBC programming exec, Chuck?

  21. hard to believe you watch that show and can conjugate verbs.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)