Piers Morgan Circa 2008: ‘There’s a Gap’ on American TV for ‘Edgy,’ ‘One-on-One’ Interviews

By Alex Weprin 

“America’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan has been pursuing his primetime talk show since at least 2008. While the news that Morgan is poised to take over CNN’s 9 p.m. slot has caught many by surprise, the former British tabloid editor has made no secret of his desire to host a “chat show” here in America.

A former staffer on “America’s Got Talent” told TVNewser that Morgan was quite open about his talk show plans, even moreso once an interview in the television trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable came out.

In September, 2008, B&C editor-in-chief Ben Grossman sat down with Morgan, who told him about a concept he was pitching NBC.

See if this sounds familiar to you:

He wants to do an hour-long sit-down with a big name in front of an audience.

But with his outspoken nature and background as a tabloid editor in the United Kingdom, he doesn’t want to do just another talk show.

“I think there’s a gap in American television for that one-on-one, slightly edgy,” he told me last week. “Most talk shows you get seven minutes with a guest and they are plugging something.”

His ideal first two guests would be Britney Spears and Barack Obama — sadly, in that order.

NBC decided not to pursue the concept, but Morgan ended up doing that exact show in the UK in early 2009, “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.”

And while he didn’t get Britney Spears and Barack Obama, he did get former Spice Girl Gerri Halliwell and UK PM Gordon Brown.

Grossman also asked Morgan what he would do differently if he were to have his own news program:

Ask him about his impressions from watching the Democratic National Convention last week and he isn’t shy. “TV coverage here of world events is almost nonexistent,” he says. “It is all America, America, America. I think it shows Americans need to get out more and realize there is a world out there.”

The “Got Talent” staffer also tells TVNewser that Morgan brought up Larry King when discussing his idea for a talk show. Morgan admired King, who was one of the last in-depth “interviewers” on American television, but also felt he could bring the format that King helped pioneer into the 21st century.

Now it looks like Morgan will get that chance, and in King’s old chair no less.