Piers Morgan isn’t mad at CNN for canceling his show in February, but that doesn’t mean he’s not bitter.
The former “Piers Morgan Live” host and recently-named MailOnline U.S. editor-at-large is pointing fingers at the cable news network, its Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and even Anderson Cooper, the anchor of Morgan’s lead-in show.
“Could I have done with a better lead-in? Yes,” Morgan told Politico in an interview published Thursday. “Anderson is a great field reporter, but does he drive big ratings at CNN, outside of a big news cycle? I don’t see any evidence of it. And yet the whole bank was being bet on him at 8 and 10 o’clock.”
Morgan didn’t stop there. “You look over at Megyn Kelly on Fox News and she’s inheriting 450,000 or 500,000 from Bill O’Reilly in the [25-to-54-year-old] demo, and some days I’d be getting 60,000,” he said. “That’s not to denigrate Anderson so much, because I think he’s pretty good at what he does. But was he the golden boy everybody thought he was? I didn’t see much evidence of that in ratings.”
He also thinks CNN and Zucker should stop stressing over short-term ratings and outside criticism, and that the network and its president should stay above the fray.
“I’ve always felt that CNN should be more resilient to media criticism about monthly or quarterly ratings,” he continued. “Ted Turner once described CNN to me as The New York Times of television. We don’t care about chasing ratings or chasing readers. We care about having a brand that is so trusted that whenever anything important happens in the world, people turn us on.
“If I was running CNN, if I was Jeff Zucker,” Morgan said. “I would come out and do an interview with someone like you (Politico), and I would say, ‘I’m not going to discuss ratings again. Our business proposition is not predicated on ratings, our global brand is not dependent on how we rate at 9 p.m. in America.”
As TheWrap previously reported, Morgan announced Tuesday he’d taken a gig at MailOnline. “As Editor-at-Large (U.S.) I plan on breaking down the biggest stories that matter to Americans and analyzing them in a way that will generate discussion and create debate,” he said.
The new position came after a lengthy TV hiatus, which began in Feb. when “Piers Morgan Live” was canceled after a three-year run at CNN’s 9 p.m. news hour.
CNN and Anderson Cooper did not immediately responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.