After months of planning and promotion and several weeks of getting his first interviews in the can, Piers Morgan joins CNN’s lineup tonight. His first guest: Oprah Winfrey, recorded in Los Angeles during the semi-annual TCA press tour earlier this month. Tomorrow night, it’s Howard Stern for the hour.
NYT’s Brian Stelter writes about what the show means to CNN:
The weight on Mr. Morgan’s shoulders is substantial. CNN, though profitable for its parent company, Time Warner, has given up more than a third of its viewers in recent years, and “Piers Morgan Tonight” is the biggest effort yet at a turnaround.
Mr. Morgan knows he will be judged on whether he improves CNN’s ratings in the 9 p.m. hour. “If I do, I’m a genius. If I don’t, I’m a half-wit. There is no middle ground,” he said.
Irish oddsmaker Paddy Power has placed odds on Morgan’s “gets” as well as his performance in the 9pm timeslot — the first significant programming change CNN has seen in that hour in 25 years.
“Piers will be under huge scrutiny after replacing a US broadcasting legend,” says Roberto Coladangelo spokesman for Paddy Power. “However with Larry King’s low 2010 audience and Morgan’s extensive launch publicity means we think he will better that on his debut show.”
Paddy Power is offering these odds on Morgan’s first world leader interview:
13/8 George W Bush
2/1 Bill Clinton
5/2 David Cameron
5/1 Jimmy Carter
9/2 Barack Obama
8/1 Vladimir Putin
10/1 Tony Blair
16/1 Gordon Brown
33/1 Silvio Berlusconi
The odds on the ratings, after the jump…
Paddy Power odds on “Piers Morgan Tonight” debut viewers:
8/1 Less than 500,000
5/4 500,001 to 700,000
6/5 700,001 to 900,000
9/2 900,001 to 1,100,000
9/1 1,100,001 to 1,300,000
8/1 More than 1.3 million