Goodbye: CNN gives Piers Morgan the axe

Goodbye: CNN gives Piers Morgan the axe

Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2014 – In the end it was not the presidential petition to deport him, but bad ratings that lead to Piers Morgan’s release from his CNN talk show. On Morgan’s Twitter feed is the admission, “One day you’re the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster.”

Morgan, with what can only be described as pompous disdain, turned his show into platform for attacking guns, the Second Amendment, and any American boobish enough to defend either. It became a “gotcha” hour during which he browbeat his guests as brutish, gun-toting ‘Muricans. When the show strayed to other topics, it was usually an hour-long Obama love-fest.

Somehow he never thought his American audience would turn on him — or not turn him on.

Morgan is well-known for his aggressive (some might say obnoxious) style punctuated by a sense of snooty self-righteousness. Formerly a British tabloid editor, Morgan took over Larry King’s talk show in CNN’s plum 9 p.m. slot. He never managed to fill King’s loafers, even though the former host’s ratings had been in long decline. King had always come off as a sort of American everyman; Morgan was never anything but a foreigner, and he reveled in being non-American.

As editor of Britain’s “News of the World,” Morgan ignored any sense of fair play, invading celebrity privacy when he published pictures of Catherine Lockwood, wife of Charles, Earl of Spencer, leaving a Surrey clinic .

The incident led to Morgan leaving his position, where he’d enjoyed the notoriety of being the publication’s youngest national newspaper editor in over 50 years.

Morgan moved on to the “Daily Mirror,” where he was investigated for purchasing stock on insider information provided by writers, was involved in the Mirror’s phone hacking scandal, and was fired for publishing allegedly fake photos of British troop misconduct in Iran. His career then brought him across the pond as a judge on America’s Got Talent and a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Morgan succeeded Larry King three years ago and never connected to American audiences. He was ostentatiously pleased that the only football he cared about was played with a round ball,  and his nonstop contempt for Americans was highlighted by his nonstop tirade against the country’s “lax” and “unreasonable” gun control laws. He called gun owners “gun nuts,” and peremptorily condemned and dismissed any viewpoint not his own.

His combative interview style — bullying, actually — had Christine O’Donnell, X-Factor host Steve Jones and Kelsey Grammer walking off the show. Grammer walked off the set before the show even began as Morgan had a photo of his ex-wife Camille, instead of his current wife, Kayte, in the show’s opening.

Morgan is known for his tirades and ill treatment off celebrities. He banned Madonna for imagined slights, ignored agreements with celebrities about subject matter, and publically banned actor Hugh Grant with the tweet:

“Hugh Grant is now banned, in perpetuity, from @PiersTonight [… a]nd anything else I ever do. Tedious little man.”

Morgan told “New York Times” media columnist David Carr, “it’s been a painful period,” referring to dwindling ratings. The last show of Piers Morgan Live will probably air in March 2014.

Sources report that Bill Weir will replace Morgan in the time slot.  Next on CNN President Jeff Zucker’s plate should be getting rid of Van Jones, who is even more obnoxious than Morgan.

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