UPDATE, SATURDAY 12:20 PM: Watch the departing Piers Morgan deliver his CNN farewell and gun control speech below.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 7:20 PM:Piers Morgan wrapped his three-year CNN run tonight with (gasp!) a full hour of discussion about the missing plane. But in his four-minute final remarks, he couldn’t resist taking a parting shot at the NRA. “I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, the absurd gun laws in this country would change,” he said. “But nothing has happened. The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. This is a shameful situation that has made me very angry.” He continued to rail and wrapped it with this: “But I’ve made my point. … Now it’s down to you. It’s your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!” As the camera began to pan out, the British expat delivered his final words on the ratings-challenged Piers Morgan Live: “Goodnight, thank you, and God bless America. Oh, and while I’m at it, God bless Great Britain too.” Here’s the full transcript of Morgan’s “cheerio” to American television:
This is the final episode of Piers Morgan Live. After 3yrs, 2months, 11 days and over 1000 shows, I am departing to spend more time with my cricket bat. I would like to thank my amazing team, led with great skill and tireless enthusiasm by my friend and Executive Producer, Jonathan Wald. And John Ferriter, my irrepressible manager, who landed me this fascinating, unpredictable, challenging but hugely enjoyable job. We won some, we lost some, but we gave it everything we had, and I have loved every minute. Well, almost every minute!
I’d also like to thank you all for watching. Even those who implacably disagreed with me, or just found my funny accent annoying. Regular viewers will know that the issue of gun control has been a consistent and often very controversial part of this show.
And I want to say something more about that before I bow out.
CNN continued to pull in bigger-than-usual crowds Thursday night with nearly non-stop coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight – this time winning three hours of primetime in the news demo. Specifically CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront (366,000) beat On the Record With Greta Van Susteren (290,000) at 7 PM, AC360 (454,000) beat The O’Reilly Factor (429,000) again at 8 PM, and CNN’s on-its-way-out Piers Morgan Live (452,000) beat The Kelly File (421,000) at 9 PM. It’s the first time since the Boston Marathon bombing that AC360 beat The O’Reilly Factor at 8 on two consecutive nights.
Fox News Channel dominated all three hours among total viewers. FNC also won 8-11 PM primetime in total viewers and in the news demo, because CNN plunged to 218,000 demo viewers at 10 PM, losing more than half of Morgan’s demo crowd with the second episode of its eight-episode docu-series Chicagoland, while FNC’s Hannity clocked 389,000 demo viewers in the hour.
EXCLUSIVE:Piers Morgan’s last day hosting Piers Morgan Live will be March 28, after which CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker is going to try out Michael Smerconish as well as Jake Tapper, Bill Weir, and Don Lemon in the time slot for a few weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deadline. We will actually see Weir fill in for Morgan in the time slot first, next week, but it will be just that — he’s filling in on Morgan’s show while Morgan takes a previously scheduled vacation, and he will return for one final week after that. Morgan and Zucker continue to talk about a future role for him at the network, the source said.
Morgan struggled for three years to find an audience in the important time slot, taking over for Larry King who’d been a longtime fixture at the network. Morgan was routinely beaten in the ratings by his cable competitors. His departure probably means the end of the time slot’s format — do not expect the four men to do the kind of show Morgan did, or King before him. Smerconish, Tapper and Lemon will continue to do the type of programs they’re already doing at CNN. And, the list may not be complete — Zucker may try out more talent in the slot, the source said. Read More »
While the current crop of late night hosts have displayed total man love for one another, it gets testier when you go descend down the talk show food chain. You have to watch this clip when E’s Chelsea Handler guested on Piers Morgan. Though a talk show host herself, she proved a nightmare guest for Morgan, who had to go as far as serving up George Zimmerman at an autograph signing to find something they actually agreed upon. She got pissed he was texting during commercials and ignoring her. Morgan, who has clashed with Handler before, later said he was checking soccer game scores. I was racking my brain trying to figure out the last time I saw such a combative interview subject and then it came to me. It was Nathan Thurm. See below:
NBC To Bring Back ‘Heroes’ As 13-Episode Event Miniseries In 2015: Video By Nellie Andreeva – On the heels of Fox reviving its iconic drama 24 as an event miniseries, NBC is doing the same with one of its most popular serialized dramas of the past decade, superhero series Heroes. Creator Tim Kring is back shepherding the 13-episode new standalone arc entitled Heroes: Reborn, which will air in 2015.
Matt Ryan Lands Title Role In NBC Pilot ‘Constantine’ Based On DC Comic By Nellie Andreeva – Welsh actor Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) is finalizing a deal to play the lead in NBC’s drama pilot Constantine, from Warner Bros TV. Based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories, the project centers on John Constantine (Ryan), an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.
CNN will kill the ailing Piers Morgan Live by next month, The New York Times‘ David Carr reported , a move later confirmed by CNN in a statement. Ratings struggles haven’t let up on the Piers Morgan news show, which scored its second-lowest numbers to date last week. The network will look for a replacement for its 9PM ET slot, and Morgan says he is likely to continue his relationship with CNN after March’s cancellation. Among the candidates is recent hire Bill Weir. CNN renamed the show Piers Morgan Live last spring following two years on the air as Piers Morgan Tonight — shortly after it notched a yearly low in the ratings.
Having had a rocky ratings ride ever since its January 2011 launch taking over from Larry King, the former America’s Got Talent judge’s show hit lows for CNN in its time slot. Morgan’s talk show started to take on serious water last fall with Fox News’ revamp of its long-standing primetime. Replacing Sean Hannity in the 9PM slot in October , FNC’s The Kelly Fileimproved on its predecessor’s already impressive results and shot to top of the cable news pile. The Kelly File has pretty much stayed in the top 3 cable news shows ever since. … Read More »
Piers Morgan’s rocky ratings just took another dive for CNN. On Tuesday, the Brit’s 9PM show had its second worst result ever in the all important adults 25-54 news demographic. With a total audience of 270,000 watching, Piers Morgan Live drew a mere 50,000 viewers in the demo. The only time the stumbling CNN show has fared that poorly since its January 17, 2011 launch was on May 15, 2012. Then the show, then known as Piers Morgan Tonight, pulled in a just 39,000 viewers in the demo. In terms of overall viewers, February 18 was the ninth worst Morgan’s talk show has done. The all-time viewership low for Piers Morgan Live was on February 7 this year when just 235,000 tuned in. Morgan’s cable news rivals The Kelly File on Fox News Channel and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC did far better last night. The 9PM shows got 354,000 and 227,000 in the demo respectively and 2.068 million and 906,000 total viewers – pretty close to what they both had last Tuesday with the FNC show even getting a tiny rise in the demo.
Tuesday’s results are a huge fall from February 11 when Morgan’s show got 111,000 viewers in the demo and 374,000 watching overall – which is a long way of say, Jeff Zucker can’t blame the Olympics cause they were on last … Read More »
Lara Logan should not be let go by CBS News over her botched Benghazi report on 60 Minutes, former CBS newsman Dan Rather said in response to a question by CNN’s Piers Morgan. She should be judged by her body of work, said the former network news anchor who got pushed out of the network over a mangled CBS News report with which he was involved, back in 2004. Logan and producer Max McClellan are on a leave of absence over their report, based on now-discredited claims made by security contractor Dylan Davies that he witnessed the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
“In my opinion, clearly labeled: No,” Rather said Monday night on Morgan’s primetime show. “Whatever one thinks of what Lara Logan did, or didn’t do, with the story, in fairness it should be put against her whole record. She’s still a very young correspondent, but for a young correspondent she has a distinguished record — it should be seen in that context and that perspective,” said Rather. CBS News, he added, “has a lot to answer for this. There’s a lot of questions, and they’ve answered some of them.”
Logan’s bungling was worse than the mangled 2004 report on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service that famously got him pushed out of the same news organization years ago, Rather suggested. In that report, documents were cited alleging Bush got preferential treatment during his Texas Air National Guard service in the Vietnam era – documents the news division later said, after investigation, it could not authenticate. Three execs were let go and Rather retired as anchor of the CBS evening newscast, leaving the network entirely in ’06. Read More »
CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s claim he’d struck the right balance with George Zimmerman trial coverage rings true with viewers, if not TV critics, this week: his network won Monday primetime among 25-54 year-olds who are the currency of news programming ad sales with programs featuring exclusive interviews with two key figures in the trial. At 9 PM, Piers Morgan Live was cable news’ top-rated programming in the demo. The show featured Morgan’s interview with Rachel Jeantel – the last person to speak to unarmed teen Trayvon Martin before Zimmerman killed him with a shot to the heart. An average of 678,000 viewers in the age bracket watched her tell Morgan that Martin feared Zimmerman was following him because he “might be a rapist.” That’s Morgan’s biggest audience of that age since his show launched in ’11. (FNC competitor Hannity logged 424,000 viewers in the demo and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow snared 263,000).
At 10 PM, Anderson Cooper’s exclusive interview with juror B37 on AC360 scored cable news the second biggest haul of the night in the demo. An average of 576,000 viewers heard her tell Cooper she thought Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” during the incident that led to Martin’s death. Cooper interviewed the juror at 8 PM as well, averaging 474,000 viewers in the key age group, to finish just behind Bill O’Reilly’s 478,000.
Starz has put in development Fleet Street, a drama project executive produced by British journalist and CNN anchor Piers Morgan, which is set in 1970’s England and chronicles the rise of tabloid journalism, the sexual revolution and class warfare, all seen through the eyes of an American journalist.
The drama will be produced by Lionsgate in association with Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced, Octagon Entertainment and Piers Morgan’s Ferret Prods. and executive produced by Morgan, Octagon’s Managing Director John Ferriter, who reps Morgan, and Jason Felts, Justin Berfield and Michael Forman of Virgin Produced. BAFTA Award- winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless UK) will write the pilot episode and also serve as executive producer. “Imagine an industry where every single opponent worked in the same street, competing with each other by day – drinking, brawling, fornicating, nightclubbing and cocaine-snorting with each other by night,” said Morgan, who has intimate knowledge of the British tabloid industry, having worked for The Sun and served as editor of News Of The World and Daily Mirror in the 1990s and early 2000s. “A street full of the most ruthless and amoral people in the world existed, and it was called Fleet Street. In the early ’70s, it became the breeding ground for modern popular journalism, as foreign media tycoons stomped over the British establishment to re-define ‘news,’suddenly exposing the rich, powerful and famous in spectacular front-page scoop… Read More »
There’s a new show on Jeff Zucker’s work in progress, aka CNN, tonight. Or rather, a 2-year-old show on CNN actually has a new name as of today. “Tonight the show formerly known as Piers Morgan Tonight gets a new name – @PiersMorganLive CNN 9pmET,”tweetedPiers Morgan earlier today. On the ratings-troubled show Monday, Morgan joked that the name was changed because it “was all live, all the time.” The name change was the host and former America’s Got Talent judge’s idea to emphasis the fact that the NY-based interview show is often actually live, a source tells me. Now the show will always be live Monday to Thursdays. Sounding a lot like Larry King Live, which Morgan replaced in January 2011, the name change was first announced late last week. While Morgan may have tweeted the change today, it looks like he hasn’t updated the background on his Twitter page to reflect his show’s new handle. It still says Piers Morgan Tonight.
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.
Sometimes latenight TV hosts have all the fun. Last night on E!’s Chelsea Lately, CNN’s Piers Morgan was a guest on Chelsea Handler’s show. It began something like this. Handler asked Morgan “What are you looking at?” To which Morgan replied “Well, you’ve either had plastic surgery or makeup because you look really hot today.” Handler’s rejoinder: “You’re so obnoxious, you wonder why everybody hates you”. Watch:
But in Saturday Night Live‘s alternate universe it was Piers Morgan interviewing the not-particularly-contrite athlete plus talking to Manti Te’o concerning his girlfriend issues and to Jodie Foster about her Golden Globes speech.
The issue came up today during a CNN town hall staff meeting when soon-to-be-network president Jeff Zucker was asked his thoughts about the network expressing opinion. Zucker said he supported it where appropriate, noting Piers Morgan’s on-air advocacy for gun control, Politico reports, citing network sources. Morgan has emerged as a vocal advocate for gun control following the Newtown elementary school shooting and has had heated exchanges with gun rights supporters on his Piers Morgan Tonight. One staffer at today’s meeting described Zucker’s support for Morgan’s position as “clear and unequivocal”, according to Politico.
The White House today surprised no one by saying it won’t be sending Piers Morgan back to the UK for his opinion on guns — despite a petition that has garnered more than 109,330 signatures. “Americans may disagree on matters of public policy and express those disagreements vigorously, but no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment — or any other matter of public concern,” wrote Press Secretary Jay Carney today on the White House blog. “President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported,” wrote Morgan Wednesday on Twitter after the White House posted its response. Late last year, the Piers Morgan Tonight host sparked the wrath of radio host Alex Jones and others with his response to the December 14 Sandy Hook shooting and call for stricter gun control in America. Seeking UK-born Morgan’s deportation in an online petition, gun rights supporters accused the CNN host of launching “a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment.”