Piers Morgan takes the chair
Update, 3:45 p.m.
Piers Morgan just took vigorous exception to a reporter saying he doesn't have a journalistic background.
"I was a journalist for 25 years on Fleet Street," the newly named CNN host told Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times during a conference call. "You can't just glibly call me a non-journalist."
Deggans said sure, but will Morgan have a problem because he's not seen in America as a journalist?
"I will if eminent journalists such as yourself inform your readers I'm not a journalist," Morgan said. "In my eyes, my journalistic pedigree is pretty strong."
Morgan talked about his "slightly cheeky" interviewing style and said he would not shove his opinions down the throats of Americans. He took a swipe at the "inter-feudal" nature of prime-time cable shows, where "Rachel attacks Bill ... Keith attacks Glenn." But he's a serious guy, Morgan insisted, noting that he interviewed Tony Blair 56 times.
Still, is a British tabloid editor-turned-talent judge the right replacement for Larry King?
We're about to find out.
CNN has finally confirmed that Piers Morgan will take over the 9 p.m. Eastern hour this fall, which has been obvious for some time.
People seem to like him on "America's Got Talent." They may not know he was once fired from the Mirror. Then again, they may not care.
At 28, Morgan was editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World--the same tabloid that has hacked into the phone messages of the royals and other celebs, and which has reporters impersonate sheiks to trap the likes of Fergie.
In 2004, he was fired from the Daily Mirror after publishing what turned out to be fake photos of British troops abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The paper called it "a malicious and calculating hoax."
Since then Morgan has become a major celebrity in Britain and spends time in Hollywood, hanging out with the likes of Paris Hilton.
On the plus side, Morgan is a terrific interviewer who once got Nick Clegg, now Britain's deputy prime minister, to talk about how many women he's slept with.
Will the show be more celeb-heavy or newsier than with Larry? Or will it be more about Piers? I guess we'll find out.
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