Dateline: January 21, 1997

Stern Scores Solidly With San Jose And Seattle Screening !


All of those detractors who dismissed Howard Stern as a foul-mouthed "shock jock" will be eating their words when The King Of All Media conquers his final hurdle- Hollywood.

The movie version of Stern's "Private Parts" premieres March 7, but the early buzz predicts a monster blockbuster. Paramount Pictures, which bankrolled the modest $20 million budget, sneak-previewed a rough cut of the comedy in San Jose and Seattle over the weekend to thunderous standing ovations.

"Seattle isn't a Stern market; he isn't on-air there. But the 600 people in the audience flipped for this film," said one insider. "This was the highest-rated screening in Paramount history, higher than 'Forrest Gump.' "

Stern, who snuck in and sat in the back happily accepted the adulation of his new fans, and then flew to San Jose for the next night's preview, where the reaction was just as positive.

For Stern -who has triumphed on radio and TV and penned two bestsellers - box office success with "Private Parts" represents the ultimate vindication.

The talkmeister had been telling his listeners about the movie for so long, and so many studios had passed on it, and so many scripts had been rejected, the project was beginning to seen like the Great White Whale.

"To Stern's credit, and his agent Don Buchwald's credit, they rejected a ton of scripts," said our source. "They wouldn't compromise."

After a deal with Rysher Entertainment dried up, veteran comedy producer Ivan Reitman - whose credits include 'Ghostbusters,' 'Dave' and 'Kindergarten Cop' - stepped in.

Reitman was able to sign on Betty Thomas, who played a cop in 'Hill Street Blues' before becoming a director and winning raves for the HBO movie 'Late Shift.' And Stern finally found a script he liked penned by Len Blum.

The book, and the movie, tell how Stern constantly had to fight know-nothing station managers to claw his way out of markets like Detroit and Washington. DC.

"It's the coming-of-age of a kid who wants to get into radio and everybody tells him he stinks," said one source.

Anyone who ever hated their boss will love the way the film depicts "Pig Virus," the station chief at WNBC radio who eventually fired Stern.

His sidekick Robin Quivers, producer Gary Dell'Abate, writer Jackie Martling, celebrity hitman Stuttering John Melendez, and major domo Fred Norris play themselves. But Stern hired relative unknown Mary McCormack to play his wife Alison. "She's hot," said our insider. "She's from New jersey. She has a tattoo on her ankle she calls her 'Lucky Charms.' "

And fans will be happy to know that Stern is sticking to his age-old formula: "There are some really sexy girls, heterosexual and not."

Copyright and courtesy of the NY Post ©1997
Story by Richard Johnson with Jeane MacIntosh and Sean Gannon.

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