CNN terminates transatlantic talk show experiment

Piers Morgan, a laughing matter
Piers Morgan, a laughing matter

CNN has pulled the plug on the British talkshow host Piers Morgan.

Falling ratings finally took their toll on a transatlantic talk show experiment that brought British conceit to American primetime audiences.

It took three years for the former Daily Mirror editor Morgan – who lost his job at the Daily Mirror after publishing fake pictures of alleged British troop misconduct in Iraq – to realise he was not the best at what he was doing.

Morgan has said in the past that he believes he is the best at his job.

He said he thought he was better than everyone else. Asked in October last year whether he was now the best TV interviewer in Britain, Morgan boasted: ”Yes, because I don’t think that my so-called rivals do what I do.

‘I think I’m almost in a category of my own.”

He is now blamed for a steep slide in the show’s ratings since Larry King’s retirement.

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan told the New York Times, which first broke news of the CNN decision on Sunday.

Morgan has never matched the ratings regularly achieved by King and had recently started to suffer new lows in terms of audience figures. This month saw six of the show’s smallest 10 audiences since he took over in January 2011.

A broadcast on 18 February, which included coverage of Ukraine’s dramatic political crisis and an interview with the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, drew its second smallest audience to date among adults aged 25-54 (50,000). Analysts Nielsen reported that the show also drew just 270,000 total viewers, its ninth smallest gathering at that time.

David Carr, the New York Times journalist called Morgan a “British television personality who refuses to assimilate” and that his moralising sermons on guns and violence “were rife with contempt”.

It also emerged this month that Morgan had been questioned under caution by Scotland Yard detectives investigating the phone-hacking scandal in the UK.