Recently, Piers Morgan took over the reigns of CNN/US’s 9pm timeslot and launched the show, “Piers Morgan Tonight”. At first, I thought that Piers wouldn’t last long due to competition from MSNBC and Fox News Channel in the US, but then I noticed something – maybe its not meant for American viewers.
To be quite honest, I do not watch American news that often despite me living in New York. I would watch Al Jazeera English, CNN International and France 24 and news from my native Dominican Republic then move to other American shows. I would also watch PBS’s Tavis Smiley, and the Fox Report on Fox News Channel (the only show on FNC that gives an hour of straight news).
When I heard that Piers Morgan was replacing Larry King, I thought – due to seeing him on America’s Got Talent – why would a judge on a talent competition be doing a show on CNN? HLN maybe (due to HLN being more tabloid/entertainment oriented).
So, I Googled up “Piers Morgan interviews” and I found were very thought-provoking interviews with people and it came to my mind – why has not he had a show like this by now?
So I watched a few episodes of his first week. I skipped the Oprah interview due to the fact that Oprah already knows how to interview people and can easily maintain herself when the mic is turned on her. I saw the Howard Stern interview and noticed that If he can handle Stern – he can handle others well, despite that Stern was a little tame here than I’ve seen him in past interviews.
I also saw the interview with Armenian-American personalities Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, and noticed how he was able to keep the questions honest and not butting in and letting the guests finish their sentences rather than jumping down their throats. That is a sign that a good interviewer is doing their job correctly.
The interview that in my opinion, was the most eye-opening was the Ricky Gervais interview which was held the week following The Golden Globe Awards. It was not just what Gervais was saying that moved me but that Morgan made Gervais feel at home and not in a cold studio on a New York afternoon. Its the same method he has done with other guests and to me it has made the show feel less like an “third-degree, under the microscope”-type interview show and more of a ‘get to know the REAL you’ show.
During the first two weeks, PMT was prerecorded earlier in the day, (with the exception for CNN/US viewers where a live Piers introduces AC360) and I wondered, how would Piers handle a live program? Will his taped shows be pushed aside? Will he be on standby in case news breaks?
When the crisis in Egypt started unfolding, during the first week, Piers Morgan did a few live shows and threw in some pre-taped interviews to balance out the program. I thought he handled himself wonderfully and can go toe-to-toe with other CNN presenters when doing rolling news coverage.
While the show is doing great in international markets, the show is doing in terms of ratings are lackluster at best. Although some American viewers did watch the show, to be honest, Morgan my not be bringing in the viewers that King did three or four years ago (but then again, neither was King).
The Reason that American viewers are not really interested in Morgan’s show is simple – they really are not interested in hour-long interviews with personalities and are into shows that are more politically focused.
I will not get into semantics about the demographics that CNN/US’s Rivals draw in, but for those that are not into shows that are politically focused are asking for shows like Morgan’s yet some Americans consider him a bore – yet he is the only one at 21:00 screaming his opinions down the viewers’ throat.
So, in closing, Piers Morgan’s new show is great for international viewers who value a show like his – yet its not the kind of opinion-heavy shows that American viewers want on CNN.
I Give CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight 4 out of 5 stars and hopes that he keeps up the good work and that is my Viewpoint (see what I did there?) on Piers Morgan Tonight.