Someone should tell Howard Stern and Jimmy Fallon: Grant Tinker is very much alive.
The two declared the former chairman of NBC — and all-around TV legend — dead Wednesday night when Stern appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” The appearance was part of Stern’s ongoing promotion push for the premiere next Monday night (at 8/9c) of the new season of “America’s Got Talent” on NBC — Stern’s first as a judge on the show.
He also appeared Thursday morning on “The Today Show” where he showed his affection for Matt Lauer (more on that later).
Grant Tinker’s name arose in the first portion of Stern’s interview with Fallon when the two talked about Stern’s return to NBC. As Stern fans know well, he was fired in 1985 from NBC’s then-owned radio station in New York, WNBC-AM, for various offenses (though the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was a bit he did on his show called “Bestiality Dial-a-Date”).
Tinker, who was the power behind such legendary TV hits as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (and who’d once been married to Moore), was chairman of NBC in 1985, and most likely had a hand in Stern’s firing. At least, that’s how Stern recalled it on “Fallon.”
“This is insane,” Stern said. “You know, NBC fired me years ago. And I believe it was Grant Tinker who said, ‘You know what? I’m firing Howard Stern and he will never work at this network again — over my dead body.’ And guess what? I think he has a dead body now, doesn’t he? So look who’s back – sorry, Grant! Yeah, he actually died.”
“Yes, he did die, yeah!” Jimmy replied.
The only problem is: Tinker is not dead. I searched the Internet for an obit, and if he had died, there would have been many. But there were none. Turns out he’s alive, at 87 years-old.
Meanwhile, on “The Today Show” on Thursday, Howard jumped into Matt Lauer’s lap and kissed him at the end of their interview.
On “Late Night,” Stern and Fallon covered a variety of topics, including:
1) “America’s Got Talent”: After mistakenly declaring Grant Tinker dead, Stern then did what he’s best at: Selling. Few broadcasters alive today are as talented as Stern when it comes to selling something (just ask any of his long-time radio sponsors) and he then proceeded to masterfully promote “America’s Got Talent.”
2) Jay Leno: Howard doesn’t care for Jay, to say the least. In fact, it’s notable that Stern went on the “Fallon” show to promote “AGT,” rather than “The Tonight Show,” which he vowed he would never do. Where’d he declare this vow? On David Letterman’s “Late Show” earlier this year.
Leno’s name came up when Fallon revealed he contacted a handful of celebrity interviewers for advice as he prepared to interview President Obama, who appeared on “Late Night” last month. Among those Jimmy contacted: Stern, Barbara Walters, Lorne Michaels and Leno. “You called Jay Leno?” Stern asked in disbelief. “Jay Leno hasn’t done a good interview ever!”
3) Stern’s advice to Jimmy: Stern revealed the questions he advised Fallon to ask the President — questions no one in their right mind would ever ask the President of the United States.
4) How Stern’s getting along with fellow “AGT” judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel: Stern told Fallon everything’s fine with those other two — just as long as Mandel doesn’t spring any of his infamous practical jokes on Stern. He told Fallon he hates practical jokes, particularly if they’re played on him, and he told Mandel he’d break his nose if he ever played one on him.