NBC Threatens Howard Stern for Calling Jay Leno a 'Spineless Maggot'

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Veteran shock jock Howard Stern earns a staggering $80 million a year from Sirius XM Radio (though he shells out an estimated $20 million of that to cover production costs, including $10 million a year to sidekick Robin Quivers).

Howard Stern has been reprimanded by an NBC executive over some harsh words for Jay Leno.

The radio personality might have given America's Got Talent a much-needed boost of star power, but the network wasn't laughing when Stern tore into the Tonight Show host this week, calling him a "spineless maggot" on his SiriusXM Radio show. 

"I got a threatening kind of comment from one of the executives," Stern told listeners Aug. 21. "I was laughing my ass off. I said: 'Do not tell me to not talk about Jay Leno. I will f---ing talk about Jay Leno for four hours if you tell me not to. I was done with Jay, now I'm all fired up again. F--- Jay!"

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Stern has had a longstanding feud with Leno, who himself has been biting the hand that feeds him lately, taking digs at NBCUniversal and parent company Comcast for slashing the Tonight Show's budget. 

“Welcome to The Tonight Show -- or as Comcast calls us, the Expendables,” went one recent Leno monologue opener.

According to Stern, the angry NBC executive also accused him of being uninformed about the behind-the-scenes drama at Leno's show.

"They accused me of not knowing anything about the budget cuts," Stern said. "It's pretty obvious I don't know anything about the budget cuts at NBC."

Referencing Leno's well-publicized pay cut, Stern said, "Dude, just keep it to your f---ing self."

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But the radio host also made sure to point out that he's had a great experience working for the network.

"I love my job on AGT. I love working for the people at NBC, they've been nothing but wonderful," Stern said, adding that his hard line on free speech is part of what makes him a great talent judge. "I don't answer to anybody. Everybody knows that. That's part of the game. And that's why I'm a great f---ing judge. I will tell people if they suck."

And for the most part, it seems, NBC agrees. In a recent interview with Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late-night programming for NBC Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter, "I absolutely want [Howard] to come back."