“Piers Morgan Live” will be canceled after a three-year run in CNN’s 9 p.m. news hour, the network confirmed to TheWrap.
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan told David Carr of the New York Times, who reported that Piers Morgan Live will “probably” see its last episode air this March. Though CNN said no official end date for the show has been determined yet.
TheWrap reported exclusively last month that Morgan’s show was in trouble.
Mr. Morgan said that his show, along with much of the rest of CNN, had been imprisoned by the news cycle and that he was interested in doing fewer appearances to greater effect — big, major interviews that would be events in themselves. Although a change has long been rumored, it was the first time that both he, and the CNN executives I talked to, acknowledged that his nightly show was on the way out. Plans for a replacement at the 9 o’clock hour are still underway, but Mr. Morgan and the network are in talks about him remaining at CNN in a different role.
“Piers Morgan Live” has failed to deliver on ratings in the three years since the British host took over the format from Larry King.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has acknowledged multiple times that primetime needs a lot of work, and the ratings-challenged Morgan was a likely target. Morgan damaged himself by taking a strong partisan position against guns during his yearlong coverage of the gun debate, according to network insiders.
For the week of Jan. 6, MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” topped the time slot with 325,000 viewers in the coveted 25-54 news demographic, while Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” drew 305,000, and “Piers Morgan Tonight,” had 159,000, according to Nielsen.
Morgan’s show has averaged less than half a million total viewers in recent weeks, while competitors draw closer to 1 million, more on par with predecessor Larry King.
Zucker has acknowledged multiple times that primetime needs a lot of work. The view from inside the network is that Morgan damaged himself by taking a strong partisan position against guns during his yearlong coverage of the gun debate.
Morgan acknowledged as much in his comments to Carr: “Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”