You never know what Howard Stern is going to do next, but this morning he felt like hugging and kissing Matt Lauer on the "Today" show.
Stern appeared on the NBC morning show to promote his new gig as a judge on the upcoming season of "America's Got Talent," saying he's the perfect fit for the show. "I'm not going on the show to disrupt the beauty of 'America's Got Talent' -- cause I love the show," Stern said. "I merely wanted to go on and be a very serious judge. And what we found as we traveled all over the country that it turns out, I'm the judge that everyone agrees with."
He said his judging style will be different from what viewers see on other talent shows. "I watch 'American Idol' sometimes, and those three judges, they don't have a word of criticism, and I think that's selfish," he said of Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. "I think you owe it to the contestants to offer criticism."
But he does have a heart, he says. After giving a 7-year-old rap hopeful the heave-ho from the show, the kid started crying and Stern comforted him. "Well, of course, I felt horrible inside," Stern recalled. "I don't know the rules. I walked up on stage and I hugged him and I calmed him down... What am I? Frankenstein?"
Stern then let loose a little bit with Lauer, who he said was one of his "personal friends." After revealing that they that they drink wine together at Stern's home and awkwardly telling Lauer he needed to step things up against rival morning show "Good Morning America," Stern stood up, walked over to Lauer and sat on his lap. While there, he kissed the newsman on the cheek.
"Come here, you dog, you. C'mon, baby," Stern joked.
Stern also made a comment about Al Roker's weight loss, telling Lauer that he preferred the weatherman when he was heavier and it looks like someone "put a pin in him."
"America's Got Talent" premieres May 14 on NBC and Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the CEO of FremantleMedia North America, which produces the show in partnership with Syco TV, said they think Stern is going to be a perfect fit for the series – going as far as comparing him to Simon Cowell. “Howard is a controversial figure, but he knows he's here to do a job, which is to find talent that's going to amaze people,” she told Hollywood Reporter. “He's the closest [thing] to Simon that I've ever met.”
Though it did take some convincing to get him the job. “I remember mentioning his name and people would look at you like you're crazy,” said Frot-Coutaz. “But I have to say, with NBC, they were not afraid of it. They completely embraced it and he's been absolutely everything we could have hoped for.”