LOS ANGELES Shock jock Howard Stern will return as a judge for his second season on NBC's summer talent show "America's Got Talent," the broadcaster said on Monday, although the high-priced radio host appears to have done little to improve the show's ratings.
NBC hoped Stern, 58, known for this sexually explicit radio interviews, would attract bigger audiences, but the finale in September was watched by a record low of under 11 million viewers, according to ratings data.
"Howard Stern's towering presence and opinions on last season's show as a new judge made a dramatic impact and added a sharper edge to the fascinating developments on stage," Paul Telegdy, president of alternative programming at NBC, said in a statement.
The show, which also features celebrity judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, remained the top-rated summer series among adults aged 18-49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers.
NBC attributed the overall 2012 audience decline partly to an earlier start that pitted "Got Talent" against end-of-season original programming in May.
The network is still searching for a replacement for Osbourne, who has quit in a dispute with NBC over their decision to drop her son Jack from another reality show.
Unlike popular singing competitions "The Voice," "The X Factor" and "American Idol," "America's Got Talent" is open to dancers, comics, dancers and other performers. It is produced by "The X Factor" creator and judge Simon Cowell.
Stern is noted for his say-anything and do-anything radio program but he toned down his act when he started appearing as a judge on the show.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jill Serjeant)