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Is Shock Jock Don Imus About to Bounce Back?

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," October 15, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: It is a done deal, radio shock jock Don Imus was fired earlier this year by CBS and MSNBC for his derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, but now he's about to make his big radio come back on WABC in New York City.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: That's right, the radio cowboy has reportedly napped a brand new eight figure deal, bringing him back to the airwaves starting December 3. A source tells the Drudge Report that Don Imus is "Rested, humbled and ready for war."

So, will audiences be ready to accept this new warrior? Imus' show will likely bump our next guest from his current radio slot. Curtis Sliwa is the co-host of Curtis and Kuby in the Morning on WABC here in New York. Sliwa, sorry about that.

CURTIS SLIWA, CURTIS AND KUBY IN THE MORNING: Matt Drudge! So it's got to be wrong! He was right about Monica Lewinsky, but Matt, you my buddy, you got to be wrong. Say it isn't soooo...

NAUERT: OK, so should he get another shot?

SLIWA: Oh, of course he should.

NAUERT: Why?

SLIWA: Because that was discracia! — What a disgrace. Al "Slim-Shady" Sharpton, chief inquisitor, [who] won't apologize for Tawana Brawley, Duke lacrosse case, whites in two cities maligned over the years and Jesse Jackson there waiting for his civil rights insurance payoff? We know what this was about — the schamolies!

NAUERT: OK, but a lot of people were very offended by his comments.

SLIWA: Yeah, they were offended by his comments, and they huffed and they puffed and they threatened to blow down the Don Imus Ranch. Well, look at him, six months later he's probably pumping iron, breathing good air in New Mexico, drinking clean water. he comes back and make $20 million from CBS to the No. 1 news talk station in the nation, WABC where I work. That's like coming to the FOX News Channel, and he may be taking the bread out of my mouth. I've beaten him five years in a row, you know that, John, in the ratings and he may be taking my spot.

GIBSON: Curtis, are we getting ahead of ourselves? Can you confirm this is true?

SLIWA: Oh, I can't confirm because the suits with me it's "operation hush-hush", "mush-mush."

GIBSON: What are they telling you about your slot?

SLIWA: They're not saying anything. You know this, you're a veteran, you've been fired, I've been fired — 15 years in radio. They lend you the microphone in the morning, when you finish your shift they take the microphone back, and thank God if they give you the microphone the next day. There are no guarantees. There's no tenure in talk TV or talk radio.

GIBSON: OK, but Curtis, look, you know, this whole question, should he get another shot? And if he gets another shot, should it be on a bigger station for more money, with greater exposure? Is what he did — should it cancel out this kind of opportunity?

SLIWA: Let me tell you something, first off, I've grown up with Don Imus listening to him. Now, he may be drinking geritol and taking BenGay baths now, but he was an icon in talk radio. He paved the way for young huckleberries like myself, who are able, actually, all across the nation now, to speak our minds and literally be paid for it.

NAUERT: You can say the same thing about Dan Rather, though. Dan Rather had a very long, very well respected career, a lot of people say, and then, of course, he screws up a story. Just because someone has had a long career doesn't necessarily mean that they need to have a bigger and platform.

SLIWA: Well, isn't Dan Rather out there on HDTV, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks? I'm still looking for him out there. But look, he's come back, Ted Koppel's come back, everyone can come back.

But you know something, Al "Slim-Shady" Sharpton, do me a favor, attack me. I'd love to have a six month vacation and then get $20 million in a settlement and end up in the No. 1 news talk station in America in the morning show. And instead I am on the F train begging for son, little Anthony Chester. Imus is going to take the bread right out of my mouth.

GIBSON: If this is your slot that he is supposedly coming back to, if these reports are true. So, what happens to Curtis?

SLIWA: Great. Curtis and Kuby, we're the kings of New York, he's the No. 1 civil rights attorney, representing blacks and I run a urban group of Guardian Angels, mostly black and Hispanic. Is this justice? If anyone was seeking vengeance against Don Imus, you failed. You know something? It's freedom of speech, you should have counter-programmed Don Imus. Don Imus has always been saying what he's been saying for two decades, it wasn't unusual. And Al "Slim-Shady" Sharpton, it was not pain, no strain here, you got your civil rights insurance payoff and now Don Imus will be back on the air.

GIBSON: Curtis Sliwa, thank you very much. You will keep us posted as to what happens with you?

SLIWA: Little Anthony Chester...

GIBSON: Curtis, thank you.

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