CNN announced that Piers Morgan will end his show at the end of March and will be replaced, at least temporarily, by the rotating team of Jake Tapper and Bill Weir.
Morgan’s evening talk show, Piers Morgan Live, has consistently been one of CNN’s lowest rated shows, almost from the instant he took the time slot over from Larry King in 2010.
Despite his celebrated debut, Morgan never really built an American audience, likely because of his hectoring over how Americans just don’t know how to do anything right. The Second Amendment issue, about which Morgan is seemingly in a permanent snit, was also a sticking point. The host even agrees with this assessment.
In a candid interview with The New York Times, Morgan admitted that he never connected with Americans. “It’s been a painful period, and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan said.
Morgan also agreed that his constant attacks on the U.S. Constitution have not helped him build an audience. “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,” Morgan said. “That’s run its course, and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
Politico reports that CNN will test Jake Tapper and Bill Weir, as well as other hosts, in the Live time slot to see if they can build a new audience for the hour.
Tapper is a well-known commentator and former ABC Senior White House Correspondent, and Bill Weir was hired away from ABC only last October. When Weir was hired, CNN felt it necessary to insist that he was not waiting in the wings for Morgan’s job.
“Bill Weir was not brought to CNN to replace Piers Morgan,” network officials claimed late last year. However, now he’ll be one of the hosts that the long-time news network will be giving a tryout for Morgan’s job.
There have also been consistent rumors that CNN is eyeing Jay Leno for an evening show.
Attempting to put a sunny face on the end of his weeknight show, Morgan claimed that it would free him up to do the “big interviews” he always wanted to do.
But Morgan has other problems than wondering from where his next TV gig will come. He is still caught up in the phone hacking scandal that erupted when he was the editor of the Daily Mirror back in Britain.
The former newspaperman has been called back to Britain to testify in court several times already, and the case is still building against him.
In 2011, Morgan insisted he was innocent of hacking celebrity phones for stories, saying, “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone.”
Despite this claim, though, Morgan is also on record as having said that intercepting the voicemail of celebrities and government officials was commonplace among London newspapers.