Review: Howard Stern's sweet debut on 'America's Got Talent'

There is something sweetly old-fashioned about the phrase "talent show" -- like "quilting bee" or "sack race" or "bake off," it calls up images of small-town fun, of ordinary citizens showing off that extraordinary thing they do. And for all the audiovisual Sturm und Drang of the modern televised variety, it remains humble at its core.

NBC's "America's Got Talent," whose seventh -- seventh! -- season began Monday night, is the purest expression of the form, making room as it does for all manner of performing arts and crafts. The big news in its seventh -- seventh! -- season is the arrival of new judge Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed "king of all media," a claim that may or may not be taken as ironic. (It is not without some factual basis.)

Stern's deserved reputation for vulgarity -- and I intend no criticism -- has led some to worry, sincerely or for practical effect, that his presence would dirty a wholesome brand. The ever- if not over-vigilant Parents Television Council preemptively called for all the show's past advertisers to consider how this unholy alliance would reflect on their products, citing his "decades-long penchant for profanity, his affinity for degrading and sexualizing women.... There can be, and there must be, a presumption that Mr. Stern will only continue to conduct himself in precisely the same manner as he has done for decades." Read More...,0,3848847.storylink


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