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E! taps Stern for football half-time

E! Entertainment Television is taking a page out of Fox Broadcasting’s programming stunt book.

The cable web will preempt its regular programming during half-time of the NFL playoff and championship games on Jan. 3, 10 and 17 to air episodes of “The Howard Stern Interview” in a package it’s calling “Half Time Howard.”

Fox pulled a significant chunk of the Super Bowl audience with its “In Living Color” half-time show opposite last year’s game, scoring a 13.4 rating/20 share, compared to CBS’ 32.8/49 for the Super Bowl during that time slot.

E! took notice of Fox’s performance, and decided it wanted to do something similar. But it chose to stay out of the way of the big boys –Super Bowl network NBC and Fox–with its own football half-time programming stunts.

This year, Michael Jackson is the half-time performer on the Super Bowl on NBC on Jan. 31. Fox has not commented on published reports that heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe will go a few rounds on the weblet’s half-time show.

Stern fits the high-testosterone quotient that seems to be required for half-time stunt programming.

The National Organization for Women threatened to boycott E! after it added the shock jock, but the cabler managed to head that off by striking an agreement with NOW to develop programming addressing women’s issues in the entertainment industry.

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