Summer TV preview: Will Howard Stern help ‘America’s Got Talent’?

It's coming back Monday!

Now that most of the ratings debates are over, we are starting a new feature taking a look at some of the shows coming up this summer. Are they still worth watching? What are some of the changes that have been made? Since “America’s Got Talent” is the most-popular show of the summer (and it is premiering on Monday, which is earlier than in seasons past), it only seems appropriate to start with it and pose a question that we will be asking for the weeks moving forward — is this a series worth watching?

The pros

While there are more talent competitions on TV than we can count on one hand, what makes “AGT” stand out from the mold is that there is literally something for everyone. There are strong singers, great dancers, and then everything from magic acts to circus performers to even people willing to go out on stage and risk their lives.

It’s also more than just talent — Nick Cannon is consistently the most-underrated host in reality TV, and the buzzers still give the show an air of suspense that few other competitions have. It’s silly, breezy summer TV — and even though Howard Stern is now a judge, it still caters to all audiences.

The cons

It’s probable that Stern will be a great judge, but since we have yet to see an episode it’s still an unknown. Part of us will miss Piers Morgan and his hilarious love / hate (but mostly hate) relationship with Howie Mandel, even though the shock jock will likely form his own chemistry with the judges quickly.

There really are only two other issues we’ve had with the show over the past couple of years, and it’s unclear if producers have worked on them since last summer:

1. Finding a way so that someone who does not sing can actually win — and then finding a winner who actually is relevant a year later. (Terry Fator is really the only long-term “AGT” success story.)

2. Changing up the YouTube auditions so that they still have a shot, but have to go through more of the rigors that the contestants do who actually show up to a casting call.

The verdict

If you watch summer TV and love competitions, you have to watch “AGT.” It may have some problems here and there, but it’s escapist fun that you can talk about with your friends and at work. Plus, the presence of Stern is likely going to make the competition that much more intense, as he is vowing to be the voice of the people in his judging chair.

Before we close, check out a video below of Cannon speaking Friday night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Are you planning to watch this season?

Photo: NBC

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