In another round of changes for the media giant, CNN has confirmed plans to drop “Piers Morgan Live” from its prime time 9 p.m. slot. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Morgan has seen ratings drop to a fraction of viewers compared with other news channels.
CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has changed the face of the cable news channel since being appointed to his position a little more than a year ago. In January it was announced that CNN would be letting go nearly 40 senior journalists in an attempt to restructure the organization. A spokesman for the company told Politico that the move would allow them to continue “investing in journalism.”
“We’re expanding the definition of news,” the spokesperson told Politico. “We’re not abandoning news by any stretch of the imagination . . . there will be more people working at CNN today than last year.”
The spokeman also explained that CNN would be bringing on 100 staff members to help refocus the interest of the station. Zucker’s plans are to devote more time to unscripted reality series and documentaries similar to Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”
Morgan told The New York Times that after speaking with Zucker over the past few weeks about the shows failure to connect with an audience, that they have mutually decided to “pull the plug” sometime in March.
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan told the Times. He continued to say that although there were times when his show saw spikes in ratings that overall slow news days were an issue.
Morgan is well aware that his show struggled to attract a devoted following because he was a relative newcomer to the States and he was debating heavily controversial American issues. People had trouble relating to a host who they couldn’t connect with so ratings continued to fall.
“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,” Morgan told the Times. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
Even in King’s last few years as host he struggled to bring in the same ratings that he once had, but his numbers were still greater than that of Morgans. Just last week, one of Morgan’s shows brought in only 300,000 viewers, according to Nielson.
Morgan took over for King after working as a judge on the popular NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” Before that he was a well-known editor in Britain.
No replacement for Morgan has been named and a spokesman for CNN declined to comment to the Los Angeles Times about when exactly his last show would air.