After months of hype, Howard Stern makes his debut on NBC's America's Got Talent.
Trailers promoting the show find the popular talk-radio host scolding contestants but also praising them. If Comcast's (NAS: CMCSA) (NAS: CMCSK) NBC wanted a judge who wouldn't be afraid to dish out barbs between the accolades -- the show's own Simon Cowell, if you will -- it chose well with Stern.
There's plenty of offstage drama here, and it has nothing to do with the show's occasionally eclectic performers. Stern attempted to sue Sirius XM Radio (NAS: SIRI) -- his satellite-radio home through at least the end of 2015 -- believing that he and his production company were owed stock rewards for subscribers that Sirius XM gained when Sirius acquired XM. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last month, but Stern is appealing the decision.
There's nothing wrong with a little disharmony between a radio company and on-air talent. It even makes for good radio, as Stern fans know. However, it will be interesting to see how things play out if tonight's program makes the morning-show shock jock more popular with younger viewers who aren't familiar with Stern.
This isn't to suggest that Sirius XM should settle with Stern. That would be dilutive to shareholders, especially as it seems that Sirius XM is the one in the right here. However, Sirius XM can't afford the distraction at a time when Liberty Media (NAS: LMCA) has increased its effective stake in the company to 46.2%.
Sirius XM will want to make sure that Stern can use the primetime stage as an ambassador for satellite radio -- just as he has used his radio show in recent months to promote the NBC show.
Talent will be on display tonight, but for investors it's really all about the spin at this point.
Running of the bulls
I remain bullish on Sirius XM's future. It should come as no surprise that I'm promoting the CAPScall initiative for accountability by reiterating my bullish call on Sirius XM for Motley Fool CAPS.
XM Satellite Radio was a Rule Breakers recommendation before the Sirius XM merger. It's now gone from the scorecard, but if you want to discover the newsletter service's next Rule-Breaking multibagger, a free report reveals all.
At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizcalls them as he sees them. He owns shares of Liberty Media and is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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