‘America’s Got Talent’: Ratings down for Howard Stern premiere

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Maybe America wasn’t quite ready for Howard Stern as a judge.

Ratings for Monday’s season premiere of ‘America’s Got Talent’ plunged compared with last year, according to Nielsen. The first episode with shock-jock Stern — who took over as a judge for Piers Morgan — slipped by one-third, to 10.3-million total viewers in the early data. Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne returned to join Stern at the judges’ table.

That doesn’t look great, especially after NBC tirelessly promoted Stern’s arrival with ads, promos and extensive media interviews.

But in fairness, NBC decided — perhaps unwisely — to open ‘America’s Got Talent’ early this year, rather than after the season was officially over. That meant that ‘AGT’ had to slug it out against tough competition, rather than the usual mix of repeats and weak reality shows that it usually has no trouble gliding past. It’s likely that ‘AGT’ will build substantially once the summer slowdown occurs.


Still, it’s probably not the news that long-suffering NBC — which just unveiled its new fall lineup on Monday — was hoping for.

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— Scott Collins (