Nearly three years ago, then CNN president Jon Klein hired British television host Piers Morgan to replace the retiring Larry King. Yesterday, current CNN president Jeff Zucker announced that after a ratings free fall, Morgan’s show Piers Morgan Live would be ending its run in March.
At the time Klein praised Morgan and said he was a natural fit for CNN:
Piers has made his name posing tough questions to public figures, holding them accountable for their words and deeds. He is able to look at all aspects of the news with style and humor with an occasional good laugh in the process. He is a natural fit with Anderson Cooper, Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker in our prime time line up, and the ideal choice to update the storied tradition of newsmaker talk on CNN.
Now Morgan gets to join Spitzer and Parker as former CNN hosts.
Morgan might have hung on until his contact expired this summer. But after his ratings dropped precipitously last week, hitting a nearly two-year low in the key demo on Tuesday against a repeat of Shark Tank on CNBC, his fate was sealed.
As I noted on Friday, the rest of the week wasn’t much better and made the decision to drop Morgan a no-brainer.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2012, discussing CNN ‘s ratings struggles, Morgan said the network needed to be “livelier, more provocative, more opinionated.” Morgan was certainly opinionated, sometimes maybe a little too much, such as in his frequent clashes with gun-rights advocates. He also came under fire for a recent interview with a transgender guest, raising the ire of conservatives and liberal alike.
After Morgan’s show lost to Shark Tank for the first time in January, I suggested that he should pack his bags and head back home because CNN wasn’t going to be renewing his contract. Too bad he didn’t take my advice. He could have saved himself the embarrassment of getting fired.