Howard Stern has rejected the idea that he would take over "Late Night" from current host Jimmy Fallon if Fallon were to vacate the slot in the event of Jay Leno's retirement, a rumor sparked by anonymous sources in The New York Post.
"First of all, what an insult," Stern said on his SiriusXM radio show Monday. "[After] all the years of my career. I'm, like, the biggest guy in radio. I've done film. I've done television ... I mean, they act like I'm some kind of fucking beginner or something. Maybe if I'm really nice to NBC they'll let me take over Carson Daly's show at like 2 o'clock in the morning."
The Post reported that NBC hired Stern as a judge on "America's Got Talent" to test him for a broad audience, and considered installing him as the "Late Night" host after he performed well on that show.
What's unclear is whether or not NBC was actually considering Stern prior to his blunt refusal, or whether Stern was dismissing the rumors as outright hearsay. Of course, Stern's radio persona can never be taken at face value.
The likelihood of Stern becoming the host of "Late Night" was never terribly high. The show has had three hosts: David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon, and has always successfully captured a college-aged audience. At 59, Stern would likely be too old to successfully take over the spot.
Additionally, Stern's demanding schedule includes broadcasting his radio show three days a week, four hours per day, in addition to his "AGT" judging gig when the show is in season. The hosts of "Late Night" are heavily involved with each episode, and Stern would probably be unable to participate in that way.
Perhaps most importantly, Stern claimed that the "Late Night" gig currently pays "about a tenth" what he currently makes doing his SiriusXM show, an estimated $400 million. Stern is actually lowballing his estimation -- Fallon currently makes around $5 million a year.
Of course, NBC is likely putting any option on the table in their desolate ratings position. Their late night programming -- "The Tonight Show," "Late Night" and "Saturday Night Live" -- is currently the only block that regularly delivers high ratings.
Listen to the clip below to hear Stern talk about the "Late Night" rumors on his show Monday.