After months of waiting, CNN has finally named Piers Morgan as its replacement for primetime talk-show host Larry King. The show's basic format will stay the same, blending celebrity and political interviews for a mix of fluff and substance. Given the fact that King's show was getting killed in the prime-time ratings game—some expected CNN to infuse opinion into its broadcasts (à la Fox News and MSNBC). Announcing his hire, Morgan refuted that idea:
"I have a lot of opinions about politics, religion, everything," he said. "Do I want to shove that down my viewers throats? No. There are enough people doing that at 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock. I find it a bit self-indulgent."
What does this hire say about CNN?
- Shows They Still Believe in the Interview Format, writes Brian Stelter at The New York Times: "In hiring Mr. Morgan, the British-born journalist and talent show judge, CNN, a unit of Time Warner, is declaring that the newsmaker interview format is still relevant, even though the partisan hosts on Fox News and MSNBC have ratings far higher than Mr. King’s."
- Continuing King's Tabloid-y Legacy, writes Keach Hagey at Politico:
Instead, Morgan plans to bring the kind of fearless - and shameless - interviewing style that has made his long-form interview show in the U.K., “Piers Morgan Life Stories,” the country’s top-rated interview show. (In his most famous interview, with then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, he asked: “It was the era of free love. How free was your love?”) In this way, he is very much continuing King’s legacy, albeit with a reputation for more curveballs than softballs... CNN is also clearly banking on Morgan’s ability to attract audiences who could care less [sic] about Washington and politics.
- This Is Bad for CNN, says a former CNN correspondent speaking to Politico: "It’s disappointing to see CNN slide further into the dubious business of tabloid journalism. CNN still has serious journalists doing first-rate reporting, like Candy Crowley for instance, but an increasing percentage of its air time is taken up by show hosts who are interested in provoking outrage, than providing context."
- Morgan Is Something of a Lazarus Sira Ovide at The Wall Street Journal writes: "His career seemed to have been ended in 2004, when as editor of the Daily Mirror, Morgan published photographs that purported to show British soldiers torturing Iraq war prisoners. It turned out the Mirror was duped by faked photos, and Morgan was pushed out in the ensuing controversy. But he rose from the ashes by publishing a memoir about his life as a celebrity chronicler-turned-celebrity, and then he carved out a career as a TV personality."
- Remember His Nauseating Interview with Paris Hilton in Bed? In his peak days of celebrity frivolity, Morgan interviewed Hilton while in bed: