"American Idol" historian Richard Rushfield is calling b.s. on the seemingly unkillable rumor that Howard Stern is being considered (or is "in talks," as some insist) to replace Simon Cowell.
Writing for the Daily Beast, Rushfield — who’s deeply embedded in multiple "Idol" camps — flatly states what’s been pretty obvious, and yet still widely speculated upon: "Howard Stern will not be replacing Simon Cowell."
"Two Idol insiders told The Daily Beast that no offer has been made to Stern, and that in fact, with the new season just beginning, the show is months away from choosing a replacement for Cowell," Rushfield said. "A source familiar with the search process says Stern was never even being considered."
It’s sort of amazing that any of this has to be even written. Unless Ben Silverman has quietly taken over Fox’s alternative department, it’s hard to see any scenario in which the crass, polarizing and very family-unfriendly Stern would be tapped to replace Cowell.
Fox could have — and, in our opinion — should have squashed the original New York Post report the second it crept up.
It’s understandable why the network doesn’t want to get into the game of denying every single "Idol" rumor. And, as Rushfield notes, there will be many, many more such rumors in the coming months as the search for the next Simon heats up.
But the longer Fox lets this notion sit out there, the more toxic it becomes. Reasonable media sources begin to second-guess logic and wonder why Fox hasn’t just swatted this down. And instead of focusing on "Idol" the show, or new judge Ellen DeGeneres, media types devote ink to nonsense.
Plus, letting the rumor live lets other related rumors creep up. Like Deadline’s claim today that not only is Stern "under consideration" but that DeGeneres has already expressed her opposition to the idea.
(Given that DeGeneres has at least half a brain, if not more, we’re pretty sure she’s against it, too.)
Perhaps somebody in News Corp. simply asked somebody connected with Stern if he’d ever consider the job. If so, that’s interesting — but it hardly justifies saying Stern is "up" for the gig, let alone "in discussions."
MoJoe applied to Yale University, but we were never "under consideration." (A good thing, that. Go Terriers!)
In any case, Rushfield reaches the same conclusion as TheWrap’s Media Alley blogger Dylan Stableford, who noted yesterday that Stern’s ramblings about the idea are "pure posturing."
"What Stern seemed to be saying—which, on top of the Post report saying producers want him—is, if they offered it to me, I’d consider it," Rushfield writes. "In keeping this talk alive, Stern does not appear really to be angling for a seat on the Idol panel, but finagling for leverage in the ongoing renegotiation of his contract with Sirius XM, which expires next January. And much of the media bought it."
Rushfield’s "bought it" contains a link to the LA Times’ Idol Tracker column, which Rushfield once ran. New Tracker Shirley Halperin posted yesterday that, according to various reports, "It’s looking more and more like 6-foot-5 shock jock Howard Stern may take the seat."
MoJoe is definitely with Team Rushfield and Team Stableford on this one.