Tuned In

Imus May Be Coming Back. Will His Cachet?

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Don Imus has settled his breach-of-contract lawsuit with CBS over his firing in the spring and reportedly is negotiating to return to the radio this fall, perhaps with WABC. (Now his lawyers are freed up to deal with the defamation suit a Rutgers player has filed against him and his former employers.)

With Imus’s return to radio looking more and more likely, the next question is whether he can regain the Beltway-pundit authority he had before the “nappy-headed hos” incident. Imus’ transformation from shock jock into the host of a salty club for media honor students eager to be cool kids largely coincided with MSNBC’s simulcasting of his radio show. It’s possible he could return to TV, but it’s worth remembering that he needed TV more (for the status) than it did him (for the money); his show earned far less, and drew a smaller audience, for NBC News than it did for CBS Radio.

I never much liked Imus either before or after the Rutgers incident. (Not just for high-minded P.C. reasons. His alpha-dog persona and the smug clubhouse atmosphere of the show irritated me; my TV diet doesn’t leave time for much radio consumption except for a little NPR; and while I enjoy TV on the Radio, radio on the TV does not much appeal to me.) So I’m curious to hear from anyone out there who was a fan. Do you want him back? Do you want him to change? And would you want to see him on TV?

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