Imus in the Morning began simulcasting Monday on Fox Business Network, having Glenn Beck and John McCain among his guests and indulging in some classically edgy shtick with longtime newsman-sidekick Charles McCord.
"Congratulations and condolences," offered McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee.
Beck, a recovering alcoholic like Imus, said: "I was thinking about bringing him a bottle today, but I didn't know what you used to drink."
The 69-year-old I-Man, who learned in March that he has prostate cancer, set off McCord by bringing up that he's continuing "my courageous battle" with the disease.
"Do you have to bring that up on the first day? ... Why would you want to alienate a potential new audience base — what would be the point of you alienating a lot of people?" McCord said.
"Nobody cares. ... Do you want to know why nobody cares? Because you have killed sympathy! Because you have gone on with this crap for so long, you have killed sympathy! You have not only killed sympathy for yourself, you have killed sympathy for other cancer patients! You have sissy cancer! Your cancer is never going to harm you in any fatal way! You're going to get killed by something else. Probably by somebody around here with a baseball bat!"
CBS Radio fired Imus in April 2007 after he referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." His dismissal meant that MSNBC also dropped him after 11 years of simulcasting his radio show
In an interview with Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post before he debuted, Imus talked about how Fox News is regarded by some as having a slant.
"The perception is that even their news is skewed toward opinion — not when I watch it. It's a fair news organization. It's not my job to defend them. But I'm more likely to believe Shep Smith than Katie Couric or Brian Williams. Their news is advertiser-driven."
And Fox's isn't? "We're better people and have a much closer relationship with our Lord," Imus joked.
Imus said he enjoyed his stint on RFD-TV, the network aimed at rural America where he had been simulcast recently, saying it was a nice experience with nice people, then cracked: "No more cows."
As for the difference between the two cable outlets, the cowboy hat-wearing I-Man told Kurtz: "It's the difference between being on television and being on an Etch-a-Sketch," the cowboy hat-wearing erstwhile shock jock told Kurtz.
Will Imus thrive on Fox Business Network?