Following what many saw as a preview of what CNN’s mornings might look like with Chris Cuomo and presumptive co-host Erin Burnett, Jeff Zucker’s network-in-progress got more bad ratings news. For the second day in a row, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight sank to a yearly (2013) low in the prime 25-54 demographic with just 87,000 viewers. PMT is down 27% in total viewers, according to Nielsen data, and down 38% in the demo from its debut on January 17, 2011. Additionally, last night PMT had the lowest demo in its time slot, even beaten by sister network HLN’s Dr. Drew with 208,000 viewers in the demo. Morgan’s subjects last night included dysfunctional goings-on in Washington, the papal situation, and a conversation with Gus Searcy, the so-called mentor of Jodi Arias, who’s on trial in Phoenix for killing her ex-boyfriend.
Multi-Oscar winning indie studio chief Harvey Weinstein is guest-hosting CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and spending the hour interviewing former President Bill Clinton. The show was pre-taped in New York this afternoon. The appearance by Weinstein, a long time Clinton supporter and big time donor to Democrats including President Obama this election cycle, comes as part of Guest Host Week on the primetime CNN talk show. With CNN’s primetime ratings hitting 20-year lows this month, Harv’s presence could be a good move for the network. Or not.
Weinstein starts off with an approach as measured and understated as his black suit and black tie. Quentin Tarantino would be proud. After introducing Clinton (“The things I do for you, Harvey,” the ex-Prez says), Weinstein asked him right off what his favorite movie is. Clinton says High Noon is his flick pick – though he really likes Casablanca. Clinton tells Weinstein that Brad Pitt and George Clooney are too good-looking to play him in a movie, though Clooney is about his size. The former President thinks Meryl Streep should play Hillary Clinton. Harvey plugs The Weinstein Co’s Iron Lady with the Streep reference. Clinton starts talking about how much The Lion in Winter and Tom Jones meant to him.
There was plenty of gooey-gushing by Weinstein, who tells Clinton he was the first President that “was cool”. Weinstein and Clinton also talk politics. The back to Hollywood. Weinstein says “in his world” everyone supports gay marriage and asks Clinton if Obama took a risk by …
In a bizarre incident, former Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell today walked out of the taping of an interview for CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, which is set to air tonight. The tipping point was Morgan’s question about her stance on gay marriage. (By that point, he had already quizzed her on witchcraft and sex with the tension between the two visibly escalating, especially when Morgan repeatedly asked O’Donnell to address old comments about masturbation she had made in an 1990s MTV documentary special.) “You’re being a little rude,” she told him several times before asking her handlers “Are we done?” and taking off her microphone. But not before schooling Morgan on conducting interviews: “Don’t you think as a host if I say ‘This what I wanna talk about’, that’s what we should address?” O’Donnell was on the show promoting her book Troublemaker. “My first ever walk-out in 25 years of interviews,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “I guess viewers can decide if I was ‘rude’ or not tonight.” Here is the video, judge for yourselves. UPDATE: After airing the unfinished interview on his show tonight, Morgan invited O’Donnell to return tomorrow and promised not to be rude.
Over the past week, Sheen has called Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre a clown, a turd and a charlatan among other things. But, despite the bad blood, Sheen doesn’t rule out working with Lorre again. “Maybe two guys just sit in a room and say, ‘Look, we hate each other, let’s continue to make some great television,” he said during his 20/20 interview that aired tonight.
There was no love for CBS executive though. “The fun stops” on the set of Men “when they roll in,” Sheen said. “They just puke all over it. They’re not welcome to be in the presence of what I’m delivering.”
Meanwhile, on Piers Morgan Tonight, Harvey Weinstein was asked about Sheen whom he called “one of the best actors when he’s motivated.”
But when Morgan suggested that the actor’s strategy of going after the bigwigs, including CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, might work, Weinstein quickly dismissed that. “I know Les Moonves,” Weinstein said. “Charlie Sheen is playing a losing game.” He later added, “Les Moonves knows how to program a network, Les Moonves knows how to make a show. He is a dangerous guy to go against.”
As for acting jobs, Weinstein said he would cast Sheen, who co-starred in his company’s spoof Scary Movie 3, in Scary Movie 4.
Morgan saw a ratings bump from his Monday interview with Sheeen which delivered 1.3 million viewers, tying Morgan’s largest audience since the premiere.
In a face-off that is bound to feel awkward and uncomfortable, CNN’s Piers Morgan will interview his predecessor Larry King this week. The encounter comes on the heels of King’s statement last week that Morgan “may have been oversold” to American audiences. “He was going to be dangerous. He was going to be water cooler talk,” King told BBC Radio 4. “He’s good. He’s not that dangerous.”
In a statement, Morgan vaguely referenced the controversy. “I can’t think of many people I’d rather interview than Larry King, and I’m sure people will be fascinated by the dynamic between us, for obvious reasons,” he said.
Morgan was far snippier on Twitter. “May have to twang those suspenders to prove how dangerous I really am,” he wrote. And “Hope Larry remembers he has to sit on the right now.”
In an interview for BBC Radio 4 in his successor Piers Morgan’s native Britain, former CNN host said Morgan was a “fine” host but may have suffered from overhyping. “I think one of the problems (CNN) did was over sell it. He was going to be dangerous, he was going to be water cooler talk,” King said. “He’s good but not that dangerous. I think they might have been better off starting quietly and that’s not Piers’ fault, or maybe it is, I’m not inside anymore. He’s certainly not bad. He’s certainly an acceptable host. He asks good questions, maybe he interrupts a little too much at times. I think he may have been oversold.”
UPDATED: On Piers Morgan Tonight, Ricky Gervais, co-creator and star of the original British version of The Office and executive producer of the U.S. adaptation, talked about his initial reaction to Steve Carell’s decision to leave the NBC series. “I sent him an email saying: I think you are doing the right thing,” Gervais said. “As a producer, I was expected to try and stop him because he is a big part of it.” Gervais appeared on the fence as to whether The Office should continue without Carell as is the network’s plan. “It can survive,” he said of the show. “Whether it should or not I don’t know.” Gervais also talked about his upcoming cameo on The Office as his character from the original series, Michael Scott’s counterpart David Brent. “I bump into Steve Carell, it’s a little thing,” he said of the guest stint, which was supposed to be kept a secret. Here is the full exchange:
At the very end of the premiere episode of his new CNN show, Piers Morgan Tonight, Morgan turned to his first interviewee, Oprah Winfrey, and asked “How have I done?” “You have been surprising,” was her carefully chosen answer. “Surprisingly bad?” Morgan asked with a nervous chuckle. “No just surprising,” Winfrey reiterated. Actually, there was little surprising about Morgan debut interview as CNN’s successor to Larry King. After months of hyping his provocative style, Morgan came across as a capable interviewer but spent the hour worshiping at the church of Oprah, calling her queen/American royalty, the most powerful woman in America, world’s most famous interviewer, etc and throwing mostly softball questions at her.
Morgan was hurt by the long time gap between the taping of the interview at the very beginning of the year and its air date. Winfrey had since appeared publicly at other places, including before the TV critics as part of her new cable network OWN’s portion of the winter TV Critics Assn.’s press tour. In fact, whole segments from Morgan’s interview, including the first 10 minutes, were exact replicas of Winfrey’s TCA session, with Winfrey repeating some of her answers almost verbatim. The early taping also didn’t allow Morgan to address the ratings declines for OWN after its solid premiere.