After months of whining that he might sign off for good, faded shock jock Howard Stern renewed his nationally syndicated radio show. "Up until 4:42 yesterday I had no contract. I was really on the fence," Stern said in an on-air press conference. "But in the end, I couldn't see walking away from this." His separate deal with E! Entertainment Television is unaffected, running through 2003 because the network assumed Stern would be on the air somewhere.
Stern for months has complained that he hadn't been able to hammer out a "fair" deal, one higher than the $12 million he collected annually from Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting. Stern remain the No. 1-rated morning show in his hometown New York City but his syndicated Arbitrons have slipped, particularly in Los Angeles. The country is now assured of five more years of fart jokes.