When Simon Cowell announced he would be leaving American Idol, the show's producers scrambled to find a replacement. Now, they are making public their top choice for the caustic judge spot -- Howard Stern.
According to a source who spoke to New York Pos
t, producers have been courting the "King of All Media", especially interested in the radio-show host since he announced his contract with Sirius XM Radio expires next January.
The source connected to Idol said, "It's one of the few shows that could compete with Stern's $100 million-a-year Sirius contract, and 'Idol' bosses think he'd be even nastier than Simon."
The source added, "Idol will do what it takes to sign him."
Cowell was paid $50 million a year. Recently, reports came out announcing Ellen DeGeneres as the American Idol judge to replace
Another source believes negotiations between Stern and American Idol producers have stalled. "Despite what he's been saying on-air, Howard isn't ready to leave radio and would like to stay on at Sirius," the source said. "We believe this is a ploy to make Sirius pay up and keep him on his huge contract. But if Sirius can't pay him the money he wants, he may negotiate to film 'Idol' on the side."
Sirius is poised to keep Stern with the company. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin recently said
: "In this world of fragmentation, great content prevails. Howard Stern is great content. Having said that, we would like him to stay with us, and we are optimistic that he will continue to do so."