9:21am PT by Erin Carlson
Howard Stern Responds to Parents Television Council's 'America's Got Talent' Boycott: 'Tune In and See What I Do'
When NBC hired Howard Stern as a judge on America's Got Talent, its popular and family-friendly primetime reality competition, the network doubtless knew it was courting controversy as well as buzz.
But Stern, no stranger to conservative criticism, is relishing his new role on the NBC series, despite uproar from the Parents Television Council, the family-values watchdog group who mounted similar protests against the the network's short-lived The Playboy Club. The PTC is calling on advertisers to drop America's Got Talent, urging Stern's ouster.
"First of all, I think it's kind of silly of anyone to say, 'Gee, we're against Howard on the show,' and they haven't seen the show," Stern said Thursday on ABC's The View. "What I would suggest is that they would really tune in Monday night, see what I do. What I'm gonna do is be a very serious judge."
When Stern officially joined the Talent panel in December, the Parents Television Council immediately slammed NBC, blasting the decision as "an act of desperation for a failing network." The group has since issued a letter of protest to the show's 91 sponsors, saying Stern was only qualified at "looking at insecure, naked young women and telling them whether or not they were hot enough to pose for Playboy."
In his View sitdown, Stern -- a superfan of reality shows such as American Idol and The X Factor -- said he understood the backlash.
"I got involved with America's Got Talent, much to everyone's surprise," he said. "What kind of irresponsible behavior is NBC exhibiting when they put me on a family show? Even I was shocked. I got into my first meeting with then and I said, 'Are you guys high on something?'"
But he's determined to prove critics wrong as a judge wielding tough-yet-fair criticism of contestants, something he's found lacking in the softball feedback from Idol's Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez.
In an interview with THR, Talent co-creators Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick said bringing in Stern was a no-brainer, comparing the radio giant to Simon Cowell.
“Howard is a controversial figure, but he knows he's here to do a job, which is to find talent that's going to amaze people," said Frot-Coutaz. "He's the closest (thing) to Simon that I've ever met.”