To American audiences, Piers Morgan is the tall, acerbic Brit who won the first season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and is also a judge on NBC’s summer showcase “America’s Got Talent,” currently airing Tuesdays and Wednesdays (he’s also a judge on the U.K. version, “Britain’s Got Talent,” along with the producer of both shows, “American Idol” impresario Simon Cowell).
Of late, though, Morgan’s name has been bandied about as first in the running to take over the “Larry King Live” slot on CNN and continue the interview tradition in the 9 p.m. ET hour. According to published reports, negotiations are ongoing about the possibility of NBC and CNN sharing Morgan.
There’s little doubt that the cable-news network could use a primetime ratings shot in the arm, but it could also be a good move for Morgan, as a weeknight slot to do long-form interviews is not a common thing in the modern TV world.
And although he’s known mostly as a tart-tongued talent judge in the U.S., in his native U.K., Morgan has a long history in tabloid journalism and already has his own talk show.
In the mid-’90s through early 2000s, Morgan edited two British tabloids — “News of the World” and the “Daily Mirror” — and in early 2009, he launched an ITV talk show called “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories,” where his first guest was fellow “America’s Got Talent” judge Sharon Osbourne.
“Although Americans may be surprised to see me being spoken of as a big interviewer,” Morgan tells Zap2it, “back in England, that’s what they know me most as. I love interviewing. I’ve done it a long, long time, both in print and on television. I’ve got a unique style that I think Americans will enjoy.
“I can’t talk about the CNN thing at the moment, so we’ll see what happens.”
In a 2009 interview, Morgan elaborated on his interview style, saying, “I don’t want people being uncomfortable watching. But I want it to be quite edgy in parts and funny in others and very warm and soulful in others. But I also want to get a feeling that, by the end of it, we really understand that person — good, bad and ugly.
“Not everyone will do it. Some of them are too cowardly. The smart ones, the clever ones, the Schwarzeneggers, the Trumps, the Cowells, the people like that, they enjoy it. They enjoy the combat, knowing that it’s actually good-natured combat.”
In the same interview, Morgan expressed a desire to do an in-depth chat with former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Apparently, he’s still up for it, saying, “I would love to interview George Bush.”
Coincidentally, it’s been announced that Bush’s memoir, called “Decision Points,” is set to be released on Nov. 9, the week after the much-discussed upcoming midterm elections.
“I do know that,” says Morgan.”It would be interesting. I don’t want to race ahead here. I don’t have any deal to go anywhere, so let’s wait and see.
“I’m excited to one day do big interviews in America. It would be a natural thing to move on from even what I do back in Britain. It’s an exciting prospect.”
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