After years of some of the lowest-rated shows in cable news, CNN is about to send Piers Morgan packing.
As far back as October, rumors began circulating that CNN was looking to replace the abrasive Brit, but this weekend The New York Times‘s David Carr is reporting that the end is near for Piers Morgan’s primetime cable news show.
Carr reports that Morgan, whose current contract ends in September, admitted during a phone conversation that he and CNN president Jeffrey Zucker are talking about ending the nightly program that Morgan hosts. Morgan told Carr that he and CNN are discussing how to use him in other ways.
The Times media reporter slammed Morgan as a host who didn’t much like his audience.
“There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much,” Carr said dryly, “and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor.”
By phone, Morgan agreed with Carr that things have not gone well at CNN with Piers Morgan Live. “It’s been a painful period, and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan said.
Carr is understating that disconnect. Only days ago Morgan’s ratings sunk to near-record lows, reaching a paltry 50,000 viewers in the key 25-43 age demographic. By comparison, Fox News’s Megyn Kelly had 354,000 in the same demo.
Morgan agreed that his constant attacks on the U.S. Constitution have not helped him build an audience with Americans who love that document. “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. That’s run its course, and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me,” Morgan said.
Carr reports that Morgan hopes to be given a new role at CNN in which he can do “big interviews” with newsmakers here in the U.S. and across the world, interviews that he says would be “events in themselves.”
The columnist was merciless on Morgan’s attacks on the Second Amendment.
“Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel,” Carr quipped. “He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.”
“Morgan’s lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way,” Carr notes.
However, Morgan may have more than ratings troubles; he was also a part of an invasion of privacy scandal that rocked Britain. Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror, recently had to go back to England to testify in the massive phone hacking case.