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) --

Howard Stern's

marketability is proving to be worth its weight in gold -- or at least its weight in contract-bargaining leverage -- as "American Idol" producers are reportedly now vying to get him on the show.

Executives at

News Corp.'s

(NWSA) - Get News Corporation Class A Report

Fox show

American Idol

will "do what it takes" to bring Stern on the show, according to the

New York Post's

Page Six.

According to Page Six, Stern is currently "American Idol" producers' favorite pick to replace Simon Cowell when he leaves the show at the end of the season to launch his hit British talent show "The X-Factor" on Fox.

Part of Stern's appeal lies in the perception that he could be even more ruthless than Cowell as a judge on the show, providing valuable entertainment value. On top of that,


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bosses know that he would spar with other judges such as Ellen DeGeneres, the source says.

Page Six reports that "American Idol" executives are prepared to offer Stern a deal competitive with his current $100 million a year salary at

Sirius XM

(SIRI) - Get Sirius XM Holdings, Inc. Report

. But a second source tells the daily that the problem is, Stern in reality, isn't ready to leave Sirius XM. Many believe that he's only been announcing job possibilities on air as a strategy to get Sirius to renew his contract at his current salary when it expires at the end of the year.

In fact, the second source said that he's been sending

American Idol

executives mixed signals. It is also rumored that the notion of spending most of his time in Los Angeles and touring the U.S. as a judge on the show doesn't seem that appealing to him.

A slight majority of readers at


say Stern

isn't worth all that money to Sirius XM

and should be dropped if he insists on another huge contract. Others believe that he brought success to Sirius XM and his

contract should be renewed accordingly.

Clear Channel Communications

recently announced that it would be interested in signing Stern at a highly competitive salary package. However, restrictive Federal Communications Commission rules would probably discourage him from returning to terrestrial radio.

Both News Corp. and Sirius stock have tumbled in noon trading.

News Corp. stock has fallen 2.1% to $12.80, while Sirius has lost 3% to 82 cents.

Other media stocks have also lost ground. News Corp. peer

Time Warner


has fallen 1.5% to $27.10. Meanwhile


(CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report

is down 2.3% at $12.70.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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