CNN has made the worst-kept secret in TV news official: British television host Piers Morgan will be joining the network’s primetime lineup in January. He will be based in New York, but will also work from Los Angeles and London.
Morgan will be taking over at 9 PM, replacing broadcast legend Larry King, who announced his retirement earlier this year. King will leave his nightly show in December.
Morgan will also write a regular column for CNN.com.
“Piers has made his name posing tough questions to public figures, holding them accountable for their words and deeds,” said CNN/US president Jon Klein in a statement. “He is able to look at all aspects of the news with style and humor with an occasional good laugh in the process. He is a natural fit with Anderson Cooper, Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker in our prime time line up, and the ideal choice to update the storied tradition of newsmaker talk on CNN.”
In a statement, Morgan praised the network and King, saying that he “dreamed of one day filling the legendary suspenders of the man I consider to be the greatest TV interviewer of them all…”
“I am thrilled to be joining CNN, and very much looking forward to bringing my own style of interviewing to the world’s biggest, and best, TV news organization,” said Morgan in a statement. “As a young journalist in Britain, I watched CNN’s astonishing live coverage of the 1991 Gulf War, and felt enthralled by the courage and brilliance of the journalists involved in that coverage. Years later, I watched Anderson Cooper’s visceral reports from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and felt equally enthralled by his passionate and relentless search for the truth. Perhaps most pertinently, I have watched Larry King Live for much of the last 25 years, and dreamed of one day filling the legendary suspenders of the man I consider to be the greatest TV interviewer of them all. To now have the chance to work with Larry and Anderson, and to try and continue the outstanding journalistic legacy created by them, and so many others at CNN, is both a great honor, and a great challenge.”
Morgan’s name first popped up in mid-June, when the New York Post reported that CNN had approached Morgan about a spot in primetime. At the time it was believed Morgan would be a likely contender for 8 PM on the network.
Not long thereafter, a number of UK tabloids reported that Morgan was actually in talks to replace King at 9 PM.
Since then, reports of talks falling apart and being “close” to finished have gone back and forth.
Once the biggest problem-Morgan’s contract with NBC for “America’s Got Talent”- was resolved when Turner and NBC cut a deal, his move to CNN seemed to be inevitable.
While Morgan is best known to US audiences as a judge on “Got Talent” he has had a much longer TV resume in his native Britain, including as host of “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories,” which has a similar format to “Larry King Live.” TVNewser took a look at Morgan’s TV resume here.