PASADENA, Calif. — Maybe you don't know Howard Stern as well as you thought.
"Everybody thinks he's going to come in and be, you know, really outrageous," says Sharon Osbourne of Stern, who is joining her and Howie Mandel at the judges table of "America's Got Talent" (returning 8 p.m. Monday, NBC).
"That's what he does with his radio show. ... So everybody's got these preconceived notions about him — and you know what? — he's a mature man now."
But don't think Stern, who is replacing Piers Morgan, will suddenly be an altogether different character.
"He's really brutally honest, and he wants to find an act (deserving of the grand prize)," says Mandel.
The highly opinionated Stern will let fly with his comments on the acts, though some of them even get a guilt-ridden Stern worked up.
A 7-year-old rapper earned a buzz from Stern. The child's reaction? He started crying on stage.
Instead of dismissing him, Stern ran on stage and coddled the child, says Mandel. A father himself, even Stern has his limits, and making a child cry is one of them.
Stern has also changed the other judges, Osbourne and Mandel say.
"We feel, like never before, we're being more constructive," Mandel says.
"We seem to have real ideas on how these people could improve their act and become stars that they want to become."
The winning act at the end of the season gets a showcasing spot in Las Vegas.
"We're more constructive in directing the talent, but the one thing I've noticed too is, before the show started, Howard was like, 'I'm not going to stand for this. I'm not going to stand for that,'" Osbourne says.
"Meanwhile, he's up on the stage with the male strippers (act) stripping it off.
"So it's like, 'All right. You're going to be serious,' but he's got all these different sides that come out now."
Other highlights for the week of May 13-19. All times Eastern. Listings subject to change. Check local listings:
n "Survivor: One World" (8 p.m. CBS). The winner of the singular world competition is named. Next season: "Survivor: Multi-Verse"!
n "Notes from the Heart Healer" (8 p.m. Hallmark Channel). Genie Francis ("General Hospital," "The Young & The Restless") returns for a third installment in the "Notes" franchise. In this one, Peyton discovers a baby and has flashbacks to her troubled past.
n "Cupcake Champions" (8 p.m. Food Network). In this five-week competition, one decorator dodging weekly eliminations will achieve fame and acclaim — if only in his or her own mind.
n "Desperate Housewives" (9 p.m. ABC). The series concludes, and we discover just how desperate these women can get.
n "Inside the Actor's Studio" (7 p.m. Bravo). The cast of "Mad Men" — including Knoxville native Christina Hendricks — is interviewed about their show's incredible success.
n "House" (9 p.m. Fox). Dr. House examines his own personal demons while treating a drug addict in the series finale.
n "Johnny Carson: King of Late Night" (9 p.m. PBS). In this installment of "American Masters," Johnny Carson's incredible run as host of the "Tonight" show is chronicled and probed as to how he did it so masterfully.
n "Mike & Molly" (9:30 p.m. CBS). The title characters walk down the aisle but may do so with a hitch or two along the way in the season finale.
n "Smash" (10 p.m. NBC). In the finale, a decision is made to save the show, changing the lives of Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (Megan Hilty).TUESDAY
n "NCIS" (8 p.m. CBS). Terrorism so profound that it shakes the team faces the NCIS members during the season finale.
n "Modern Family" (9 p.m. ABC). Alex does a school project on family harmony while his own clan is at each other's throats.
n "Criminal Minds" (9 p.m. CBS). Emily (Paget Brewster) bids goodbye to the team when the season wraps up.
n "Community" (9:30 p.m. NBC). The season three finale has Jeff (Joel McHale) and Shirley facing off against Pierce (Chevy Chase) in a not-so-legal dispute.
n "The Mentalist" (10 p.m. CBS). During the season finale, Patrick (Simon Baker) hits rock bottom and turns against one of his own.
n "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m. NBC). Mick Jagger is the host and musical guest in the 37th season finale.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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