Howard and Les may be ready to bury the hatchet — or at least set it on the ground.
Speculation of a settlement in CBS’ lawsuit against Sirius and Howard Stern has been rampant since CBS attorney Irvin Nathan told a Gotham court late last week that the two sides “are very close to settling.”
Insiders said negotiations are continuing this week and could reach a resolution in a few days, though next week is more likely.
In February, CBS sued Stern, his company One Twelve, his agent Don Buchwald and current Stern home Sirius Satellite Radio for breach of contract and fraud.
Complaint notes, among other things, several hundred million dollars in stock bonuses Stern received for luring 1 million listeners to Sirius while he was still at CBS, though one insider noted that in its complaint, the net didn’t cite a specific dollar amount sought.
Observers anxious for a settlement also have noted Stern has been mentioning CBS topper Leslie Moonves less frequently during his Sirius program.
For both sides, the suit may have simply run its publicity course.
From the start the suit had the whiff of a press gambit. CBS benefited from the publicity amid the flagging ratings after Stern’s departure. Stern, meanwhile, seized the initiative and turned the weeks after the suit into a Moonves-baiting extravaganza. He later chided CBS after the company sealed a deal with XM to share rival personalities Opie & Anthony.
Legal authorities have said CBS’ case is shaky because company also sought to benefit from Stern’s farewell tour before he departed terrestrial radio.
If a settlement happened, it could rob Stern of the foil he craves for his anti-authority poses, especially if it were to silence him on CBS.
Stern’s lawyer, Peter Parcher, and CBS declined to comment. A Sirius spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.