http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:dd31e80cf6214ed6aa0cf19357682bf1 NEW YORK (AP) — "They keep telling people it's the 10th anniversary. But it's the fourth season, as far as I'm concerned," says Howard Stern, who joined "America's Got Talent" as a judge in 2012. That's what you'd expect Howard to say. But quickly he adds that with "AGT" launching what everyone but Stern would consider its 10th season (Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC), he's having a ball with fellow judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B. "I may be the most important judge in the history of the world, but secretly I'll tell you, I'm glad they're there," he confides during a recent interview. Everyone remembers the uproar when Stern was brought aboard this family-friendly talent competition: Wasn't he a legendary "shock jock," a bad-boy superstar on SiriusXM Radio who would say anything to get a reaction? Maybe, but Stern, now 61, thought he would make an ideal judge, that his long show-biz career (wasn't he the King of All Media?) would serve him well in evaluating each act. More to the point: He was already a big "AGT" fan. "It helps when it isn't just a paycheck for a judge, when they were a fan of the show even before they were getting paid to be on it," says Jason Raff, an executive producer of "AGT" since its premiere in June 2006. "It's a hard show to judge," he says, noting its lack of any rules — any type of act with any number of performers of any age is welcome. Like Stern, Mandel was an "AGT" devotee before he joined the judges' panel in 2010. "I watched every episode for the four years before that," Mandel says. "Whatever you see me saying and doing is what I was doing from the couch in my living room, in my underpants, before. Now I have the best seat in the house." And though he has to wear pants, "the show provides them," he says with a laugh. If the judges are having a good time, host Nick Cannon is having a blast. "I figure I'm the guy who's having the most fun," says Cannon, the "AGT" ringmaster since 2009. "It's the best summer job ever, even though there's a lot of responsibility." Responsibility like overseeing four opinionated, outspoken judges, plus an anything-can-happen string of acts — all of which, later in the season, takes place onstage at New York's Radio City Music Hall............................................... http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:dd31e80cf6214ed6aa0cf19357682bf1 .