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Morgan to be the new King of CNN

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  July 14, 2010 07:47 AM

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Looks like Piers Morgan from NBC's "America's Got Talent" is going to take over Larry King's 9 p.m. timeslot on CNN, says the New York Times, once negotiations between NBC and CNN are complete. Morgan is one of the heavies on the "America's Got Talent" panel, sitting alongside Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel as he serves up acerbic comments in the manner of his longtime pal, Simon Cowell. He is the resident Brit, now something of a must on every American reality contest.

It seems like an odd choice, in a way. CNN needs to pick up ratings quickly, and Morgan, 45, isn't exactly a household name like the two other celeb contenders mentioned in rumors about the job -- Ryan Seacrest and Katie Couric. The network recently announced that disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer would have a new 8 p.m. show (with conservative columnist Kathleen Parker), a more obviously provocative appointment.

But Morgan does have a growing profile in America -- he also appeared on "Celebrity Apprentice" -- and he is very well known in Britain. He has done plenty of TV work there, including a talk show called "Piers Morgan Life Stories" on which he has conducted a number of high profile interviews. His interview with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown made headlines as both Brown and his wife talked emotionally about the death of their 10-day-old daughter. He also has a history in British journalism, as well, including an editorship at the Daily Mirror that ended in 2004 when he was fired after photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees were proven to be fake. 

I have a feeling Morgan is going to work out for CNN, as it does battle with Fox News. First of all, we're not potentially tired of him, as we might be of Seacrest or Couric or the like. And then we do so love our Brits! So classy, even when they're being mean and tabloidy! Brits like Morgan sometimes seem able to ask difficult questions of American public figures with greater ease than Americans -- they don't need to be loved by viewers in the same way as, say, Oprah or Barbara Walters. Morgan's reputation as arrogant may help him; Simon Cowell has certainly taught us to embrace and appreciate that type of persona.

Here's a sample of Morgan's interview style -- a clip from his Brown interview, in which Brown and his wife recall the loss of their daughter. 

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