WASHINGTON – CNN president Jeff Zucker has decided to end television host Piers Morgan’s show after its ratings plunged, sources at the television network said.
The former British tabloid editor — who irked conservative Americans after launching somewhat of a crusade for greater gun control measures — struggled after stepping into the shoes of popular, down-to-earth host Larry King in the coveted 9 p.m. primetime slot.
King, an 80-year-old talk show star who now hosts a show broadcasting on Hulu, Ora TV and Russia’s RT television, is known for his ability to connect immediately and easily with ordinary Americans. He hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN from 1985 to 2010, wearing his trademark wide-rimmed glasses, shirt with rolled-up sleeves and suspenders.
Morgan, in contrast, was inherently British and not just in his accent. In particular, he made repeated references to cricket, a sport with little US presence, and professed his ignorance about American football and preference for the round football, soccer.
“CNN confirms that ‘Piers Morgan Live’ is ending,” CNN vice president of communications Barbara Levin told AFP. “The date of the final program is still to be determined.”
US media reports said the show could end as early as next month but that Morgan may stay with CNN in another role.
In an interview with The New York Times, Morgan said the show had “run its course,” adding that he and Zucker “have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
He also acknowledged the show was underperforming.
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan said, adding that the show suffered especially on slow news days.
“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,” he added