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Howard Stern's 'American Idol' paycheck

The radio host says he’d judge if the price were right

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Howard Stern made his name outraging audiences, but he dropped his biggest bombshell yet when he intimated on his Sirius XM Radio show that he’d been approached to fill Simon Cowell‘s seat on American Idol. He started his Feb. 10 broadcast by slyly confirming the speculation — ”It might be possible, we’ll see” — while maintaining his acerbic persona. ”There’s not a better job on the planet than judging that f—ing karaoke contest,” he said.

”They’d have to pay me a ton of dough.” That’s the real rub, as his five-year, $500 million contract with Sirius expires at the end of this year. Though he’s been known to take negotiation tactics public, he brushed off speculation that he was using TV’s No. 1 show as a ploy. But after spending days trashing Idol on air, Stern seems an unlikely bet among other rumored contenders, such as music insiders Tommy Mottola and Guy Oseary. (Idol sources say it’s too early to declare front-runners.) Alas, Stern’s American Idol journey could be coming to an end?before it even begins.

With additional reporting by Michael Slezak and Tim Stack