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Stern re-signs with Sirius

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Yakuza Rich

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 865

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:15 am    Post subject: Stern re-signs with Sirius Reply with quote

Just announced that Howard Stern has re-signed with Sirius for another 5 years. I started listening to Howard about 22 years ago when I was 12 years old. So I've been with him since the Billy West era. The show is still entertaining, but it certainly has changed. Not so much because of the freedom he's allowed to have on Sirius, but Howard the man has changed quite a bit.

I think Howard wasn't going to re-sign up until 6 months ago, but then changed his mind for various reasons. He has been saying for the past 3 months or so he wanted to continue on for another 5 years. But a year ago I think his mind was leading towards retiring. Perhaps the ongoing Artie Lange saga got to him and then a year without Artie helped him want to come back.

Part of him coming back is due to trying to help the rest of his staff with their careers. A couple of years ago a caller asked which people on the show could retire when Howard's current contract was up. Robin and Artie said they have enough money. But surprisingly Fred said no, he would need to work and Baba Booey said the same thing. I was a little surprised Fred said that, but not so much about Booey. However, Howard was shocked when Booey told him he didn't have enough money put away.

A friend of mine's wife is friend with Booey's wife and she's admitted to her that they live beyond their means. Greenwich, CT isn't a cheap place to live and there were all those years when Booey wasn't making a lot of money (plus I think he has Jets and Mets seasons tix, which are not cheap, along with the rest of dumb collectibles that the show has made fun of). Booey was certainly stressed out over the latest negotiations this past year as his usual thick skin becaming increasingly thinned over time.

Booey did have a point about the industry that they are in. If he were to be a producer on a TV show, there's no real guarantee on the contracts and he could be on a show for a year or two and then be looking for work and it's hard for a 50-something year old producer to make that adjustment in his life.

The show probably peaked in the Billy West years, but I think the Jackie and non-Billy West years in the 90's were almost as good. I think the show misses Jackie tremendously because Jackie had a way with busting everyone's balls that it would keep everyone honest. Now the show has becoming an ass kissing festival where everybody tries to find ways to kiss Howard's ass in the end.

Perhaps that will change now. I felt that there was a ton of ass kissing with Robin because she likely had a TV show in her future if Howard had retired and Booey in particular could latch onto that. Now that they have 5 more years there's no need to kiss ass so much, at least in the first couple of years.

With Jackie, he loved to break everyone's balls and Howard would find it funny and join in on the fun. For instance, Jackie was relentless with making fun of Booey and Howard and Robin would join in and Booey would get mad and not kiss Howard's ass. Now because Jackie is no longer around, Booey rarely gets made fun of and now people kiss Booey's ass in order to get closer to Howard.

But Jackie ain't coming back. I still think they need somebody for that chair. I actually liked Artie when he wasn't so high that the world revolved around him. He's supposedly sober now and wants to be back on the show, but I just don't think he can handle it and I think Howard feels the same way.

There's no specifics on the salary, but I'm guessing it is astronomically high. I don't see Howard being the type that takes a pay cut and from the way it sounded, he wanted to work only 3 days a week and get paid the same amount.

It's been suggested he move the hours back since the show is on a replay loop all throughout the day anyway. I think Howard wanted that, but Sirius feels that the advertisers don't (sound stupid, could be bullshit but could be true). Howard mentioned that he'll have a much more 'flexible' schedule which will probably mean that he gets more vacation time.

Overall, I'm glad he's re-signed although I'd like to see more of an effort from Howard this time around instead of a guy who rushes to finish each show (which was one of the things that drew me to him being on Sirius, he didn't have to worry about time constraints when they were having a great show). Plus, it didn't quite feel right that his show was going to end in a week. When it really ends, it should be a much bigger production. His ex-wife, Jackie, Stuttering John (who he's fueding with), KC, Billy West, etc....all need to be around. I was thinking if the show was ending like it looked like it was going to end this week, wiith little hooplah or anything special about it, how that reminded me of ECW's final show in Arkansas of all places.

And I believe he did the right thing by his staff understanding the issues they face. So I'll probably stick on with Sirius for another 5 years, but if he continues his rate of disinterest that could change.

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Site Admin

Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 17337

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't listened since it went to Sirus, and was slowing down in my listening before that. Never really cared for Artie, or the revolving door before that after Jackie left.

It's easy for longtimers to say that it peacked during the Jackie and Jackie & Billy West era. Comes across like "things were better in my day", or "I liked the band before it got big". But... it really did feely like the peak.

I was listening as soon as it got to Los Angeles. He was still at war with the Philly Zoo Keeper. In LA he went to war with Mark & Brian, who I never cared for at all. It wasn't as butal as the Philly war, nor did M&B seem like much of a contest to him. Cleveland was fun for someone who wasn't based in CLE: he had a good enemy there to get fired up about.

As the "expansion" kept rolling, going into new cities was less interesting. What kept it at a high level was Billy moving from occassional to regular. It just seemed that it opened up Jackie's ability to put damn near anything into Billy's mouth, who seemed to have no inhibitons when "in character" doing a voice about what he said. Marge was an all-time classic character, over-the-top and profane and offensive... but you knew that as offensive as it was, it actually was probably cutting extremely close to the *real* Marge, which I think needed to be exposed as much as possible until MLB ran her.

I think when Billy left things started to slide. The show had probably already hit an expansion and popularity peak. The books had come out and gone #1. The movie had been made and come out and done well. TV never took off nationally like he might have hoped. One got the sense that he'd conquered as much as he wanted: no second movie. No more books. Seemed not to care a great deal about turning the show into a big tv show, or the equiv of it. Son of the Beach was a minor creative thing, but not really an extension of the show. It just seemed to be running in place, and without Billy it wasn't quite as funny.

Jackie going was the killer for me.

I can grasp to a degree that long running shows often get second-and-third winds with changes, especially in some of the creative side. Folks run out of ideas, or start rehashing stuff. Jackie had been with Howard for a long time, and if there was the right fit, perhaps they get a second wind for the show.

But it misplaced the value of Jackie. I recall Barnett over and over again pointing out Jackie feeding stuff to everyone on the show, making everyone look better and funnier. He was always scratching notes and passing them around. He wasn't those guys on a show who would raise his hand so that he could say the funny line, or ask the embarassing question. He was feeding Howard. Billy was great... just freaking great. But it was Jackie writing that stuff and feeding it to him. In turn, Jackie was willing to get his own balls busted about a ton of stuff. "My Wife Nancy" might have been a touchy subject at times, but outside of that, he was willing to take a lot of shit for the good of the show.

It's hard to replace someone like that, so wired into what Howard needed, and so willing to make everyone else look good almost effortlessly.


I don't think the seperation and divorce from Alison helped the show. I know that for years there was the running joke of how wild the show would be if Howard split. But there was something of a "grounding" to the show that despite what's going on the show, there's Howard at home with the long time wife, the daughters, etc. Alison wasn't a major part of the show, but that she was a part of his life was on the show. For all the fame and $$$ and wildness, he still had the home life. Perhaps the analogy would be that Howard represented two sides of men:

* the stable home life with his partner & family
* the wild, out of control Id that we can't let out

On the radio we got to see both sides.

Ironically, he quickly turned around and effectively settled down with Beth. The dynamic in those early years wasn't the same, perhaps because Howard didn't want to instantly put his private life with his new partner out there on display like he had with Alison, simply because he'd been with Alison for years before hitting it big. But there was something missing.

That was a 1-2 punch: the spit with Alison, then Jackie going. :/

And after that I wandered off a bit.

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Yakuza Rich

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 865

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing about Jackie that Howard would never give him credit for was Jackieís dynamic personality. Part of Jackie was this middle aged man who never grew up and still got a kick out of hacky jokes. Part of Jackie was the disgusting, almost non-hygenic Jackie. Then there was the peaceful hippy Jackie who didnít know what to do with his money. Then there was pussy whipped Jackie. Then there was a very opposite side of the spectrum with the mean Jackie. The vindictive Jackie. Jackie the stingy business man. Jackie the carny business man. Jackie the idiot businessman (think of all the amount of money he put into his wifeís stupid businesses). Then there was judgemental Jackie.

I could probably go on and on, but the guy was an extremely dynamic character who had some many parts and layers to his personality. And to top it off, while I found his standup routine okay, his comedy for whatever reason just meshed extremely well with Stern. And whatís funny is when I hear a guy like Sal the Stockbroker (who I think is very funny) pretty much knock Jackie, but it was obvious that he became a fan of the show because of Jackieís style of comedy.

I only heard some of the show a couple of years before it went to Sirius. Artie before Sirius wasnít very good because I think he was just trying to ease himself into the show. On Sirius he was unbelievably hit or miss. He started to ease into the show which produced some great comedy. His feud with High Pitch Mike (a staffer who has a high pitched voice like High Pitch Eric) made me laugh about as hard as I ever did on the show. But his heroin addiction was sad to see and every time he missed work or fell asleep, the entire show would revolve around that and it got boring really quickly. But Howard treated Artie unlike anybody else, even Robin, and just let him do whatever he wanted and tried to convince the audience that Artie falling asleep (really, he just passed out from his heroin high) was funny. It never really want *that* funny to begin with, but quickly became very un-funny because itís hard to see a guy who was making close to $5 million a year and who was a pretty likeable guy, turn into a very un-likeable guy who was pissing away his life and his addiction tormented his mom and sister. In fact, his mom found him when he tried to stab himself to death which made me feel incredibly sorry for a person Iíd never met.

I think the divorce hurt the show like you said, but he got involved with Beth very quickly and then got re-married. I think the difference is how much he kisses Bethís ass over Allisonís. In the past he was the guy who had a wife that he would practically beg for sex but she wouldnít put out. But now if you didnít know any better, youíd think Beth was Godís gift to the world and after awhile itís like hearing your best friend constantly talk about how great his girlfriend is and how she never does anything wrong. And in the Gary Roast, Sal did easily the best joke about Beth in Stern Roast history and Beth held that against SalÖ.which of course Howard held that against Sal. That was more or less taboo in the old show because everybody broke everybodyís balls and now that wasnít allowed and it happened on a Roast.

I still have love for the show, but itís certainly changed. It reminds me of í97 ECW where there were elements of the product that drew me into the product in the first place and you werenít going to get those elements anywhere else. But I couldnít help but have a disdain for how the parts of the product that had changed. So I stick with it for now, but still yearn for the old days to come back.

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Paul Jacobi

Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 71
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several issues with the show right now. The lack of another voice in the studio is the biggest one as Jackie (through his writing and jabs) and Artie, through having more of a fanís/ everymanís perspective broke up the monotony of the Howard/Robin dynamic.
I was a big fan of Artie, the first several Sirius years in particular as the move over gave him much more freedom.
I totally agree on his fight with high pitch Mike and also with Sal and Richard being hilarious. He was also great on the roasts.
That said, it was absolutely awful for Howard and co. to let things go on as long as they did with his addiction. He should have been booted from the show/given an ultimatum for long rehab almost a year prior to when it happened. Instead, it came off as sleazy that his addiction was being exploited almost as a bit.
Now, there simply isnít any tension in the studio and it gets a bit dull oftentimes.
The Beth overkill is also a downer as it really makes Howard look like a hypocrite as he railed against Don Imus and Larry King having much younger trophy wives for years and pushing their wives vanity projects through their shows, and hereís 18 years younger Beth, ďwritingĒ a dog book and Howard gushing over it and her Letterman appearance.
I also hate that Alison has been erased from the showís history (sheís never mentioned on the retrospectives, but itís probably due to the divorce settlement.).
I began listening in earnest around the time of the Private Parts film (but used to watch the E show a lot prior to that or listen with my dad) and itís startling how much different the show is now.
On another note, I saw Jackie perform standup/jokes in AC this summer and he was awesome. I get the feeling heís mellowed out quite a bit, but since he left the show on such bad terms and everyone remembered how much drama there was when heíd renegotiate, itís torpedoed any chance heíd have of getting back in.

-Paul Jacobi-
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