Vanity Fair Profiles Piers Morgan and ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’: ‘The leper with the most fingers’

By Alex Weprin Comment

CNN’s Piers Morgan gets the Vanity Fair profile treatment. The piece does a good job going into Morgan’s life and career, and it even has some juicy bits from his current tenure at CNN.

“We are the leper with the most fingers,” someone who works on Morgan’s program told me. That sort of attitude doesn’t endear Morgan and his team to veterans at the network. There is palpable tension between Morgan and Anderson Cooper, according to people who work with them. Anderson Cooper 360 airs just before and just after Piers Morgan Tonight. Larry King’s show was in the same slot, and there always used to be a bit of televised banter between Anderson and King as the handoffs were made. There’s no banter now. As far as viewers are concerned, Cooper and Morgan simply don’t speak.

Morgan’s show is number one in total viewers, while Cooper’s show is tops in the demo. Of course, Cooper’s program airs at 8 and 10 PM, and there likely aren’t many people watching both editions.

There is also an interesting anecdote from Morgan’s agent, John Ferriter, in which he explains how Morgan got the gig at CNN in the first place:

Sensing that Larry King had run his course, Ferriter started sending clips of Morgan’s interviews to Jonathan Klein, who was then the president of CNN/U.S. Klein knew Morgan only as a reality-TV star. On his way to meet Simon Cowell to discuss a possible political show on CNN, he watched a clip of Cowell being interviewed on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories. He was so impressed that he spent the rest of the two-hour ride watching Morgan’s interviews with such people as Gordon Brown, Susan Boyle, and Richard Branson. In April 2010, Klein and other top CNN executives met with Morgan and Ferriter in CNN’s offices in New York. Morgan wowed the crowd with his vision for a show. He would book both serious politicians and pop stars. He would use his tabloid instincts to court controversy and gain attention. He would be ever present on social media. As Ferriter tells it, almost as soon as he and Morgan left the building, Klein called and said, “I think he can replace Larry.”