Howard Stern a breath of fresh air on AGT

A strange thing has happened on America’s Got Talent this season. It’s become sunny, warm, cheerful and inspirational all of a sudden, even when the acts have been found wanting.

The arrival of Howard Stern and, more importantly, the disappearance of Piers Morgan has resulted in a kinder, gentler show, and AGT is better for it. Stern, odd as it may sound, has proven to be a breath of fresh air. AGT doesn’t take itself too seriously, and therein lies its charm.

America’s Got Talent Timothy Poe SSS-SCAM

Everyone knows that to get anywhere on reality shows like ‘America’s Got Talent’ you need to have a heart wrenching tale of personal turmoil, or it can certainly help a great deal. So imagine how much everyone warmed to Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe after he rocked up to the auditions this week and gave the judges his story.

He spoke of his time in military service in a taped segment, saying “I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded. There was a guy who come up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I saw it coming down, and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yelled ‘grenade’ and the blast had hit me.”

Heart-warming stuff, but not strictly accurate according to E! Online. A statement from the Minnesota National Guard said “Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009.” Records do show that Poe was was in service, joining in 2002 and being sent to Kosovo between 2007 and 2008 and then spending a month in Afghanistan during 2009. Shock jockey Howard Stern was disdainful of Poe’s lies on his radio show, saying “You could be the most f**ked-up liar on the planet, but you never lie about military service, this lie is so wrong on so many levels.”

Piers Morgan’s downfall after AGT

Piers Morgan Tonight Ratings:

CNN’s primetime viewership has fallen by nearly 50% in the last year despite its recent addition of Piers Morgan‘s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”

According to data released Wednesday, May 2012 was the worst month in over 20 years — Morgans average audience fell to 388,000, of which a mere 113,000 are in the 25-54 age bracket that advertisers covet.

Phone Hacking Involvement:

Piers Morgan has long insisted that, in his days as the editor of a London tabloid, he didn’t order or condone his reporters hacking into cellphones to get scoops about celebrities.

Morgan himself flatly denied any involvement: “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.”

But as a witness at the Leveson inquiry, when asked to explain his guide to hacking into telephone voicemail from a 2001 entry in his own published memoirs, Morgan said: “I’m sorry – it was 10 years ago, I can’t remember.” Questioned further, Morgan couldn’t offer even the vaguest recollection where the “little trick” might have come from.

AGT ratings starting to pick up

NBC had an easy Tuesday against a slew of encores, making room for America’s Got Talent to match its highest rating of the season among adults 18-49. The one-hour broadcast, which aired after a repeat, posted a 3.7 rating in the demo.

That’s a 12 percent bump from the most recent episode and the same score as the May 14 premiere. After Talent, NBC aired another encore of Grimm, seemingly testing the waters on a few nights and pulling in a solid 1.3 adults rating. The network averaged a 2.3 rating with 18-49-ers and 7.5 million viewers.

Slow start for AGT

In fairness to Stern, NBC premiered his show during the final week of the television season against stiff competition, including “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC and the season finales of CBS’ Monday night comedies. Last year, “America’s Got Talent” started its season on May 31, with rerun season already well under way.

“America’s Got Talent” had 9.5 million viewers on Monday, down from last weeks 10.6 million, again facing in-season competition.

Meanwhile, CNN had its lowest prime-time viewership average last week than any week since at least 1991, Nielsen said. The network’s shows average 395,000 viewers. It was a slow news week, and many of the older viewers who watch news were likely preoccupied by the winding down of seasons on “Dancing With the Stars” and “American Idol,” both of which saw a boost last week.

Howard makes 7 year old child cry

The 58-year-old pressed his “X” buzzer during 7-year-old aspiring rapper Mir Money’s performance, and when Stern tried to explain his reasoning to the incredibly adorable kid, Money just couldn’t stop the waterworks from flowing.

Yeah, and that even tugged at Howard’s heart.

The AGT judge went onstage (while the crowd boo’d) to try and give Mir Money a pep talk and explain that he didn’t want to make him cry, which ultimately calmed the young boy down, but it definitely left a lasting effect on Stern.

“This job is too rough for me, I don’t really wanna do it anymore…I’m not cut out for this, man. I’m not cut out for it. I’m shaking man, I’m shaking. I can’t do it, man. I can’t do it.”

America’s Got Talent ratings are in!

Howard Stern kicked off America’s Got Talent on Monday night by saying to the audience, “These executives at NBC must be out of their mind taking a risk on me. I say I won’t make it through the first show — what do you think?”

But Howard did make it through, playing it seriously, prompting The Washington Post to say he became “a beloved uncle,” instead of a shock jock that has struck fear into the hearts of the Parents Television Council. At one point, he said, “This is going to sound sappy. We are the greatest country in the world. You are everything that makes America great.”

Howard’s debut got off to a solid, if not spectacular, start, averaging about 10.3 million viewers, reports USA TODAY’s Gary Levin. The number is below last summer’s start, but last season’s start on May 31, 2011, which drew 15.3 million viewers, was against repeats. Last night’s show was against in-season original programming, including Dancing With the Stars and CBS comedies.

Howard’s Got Talent premieres tonight!

The season premieres tonight, May 14 at 8:00 pm/ET on the NBC network. Get a first look at Americas Judge Howard Stern on the upcoming talent competition above!

America’s Got Talent was the #1 non-sports telecast on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox in total viewers every week it aired over the summer of 2011, making it the #1 summer series in total viewers for a sixth year in a row. Last summer, “America’s Got Talent” delivered its highest-rated cycle ever.