Yeah, apparently his health isn't so good (even in ETM standards.) He called in a couple weeks ago and said he was on vacation in New Jersey(??) and that he doesn't call the show when he's on vacation.
And with American Idol not going back on the air until January, really, does he have anything to talk about?
All the better, I think. The show is so much better without him...the only good thing that comes out of his calls is when Artie verbally jumps on ETM's ego. ETM needs to realize that if Howard didn't comment on Kelly Clarkson that one time, ETM wouldn't be anything at all.