As America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan gears up to succeed Larry King on CNN, he’s been harshly criticized - comparable to the BP oil spill; “crimes perpetuated by Britain on American landscape.” Vogue magazine inquires on how the polemical marriage of Piers and CNN is seen as anything but paramount.
Piers Morgan may be his very own fame monster. A young editor once detesting and begrudging the celebrity culture and deeming tabloids as belonging “behind page 29,” eventually ate his own words. The now seasoned Journalist has become a celebrity of his own as he was awakened to the philosophy that “the public loves celebrities.” Name-dropping celebrity friends like Gordon Ramsay, Sharon Osbourne and Naomi Campbell, Piers doesn’t seem to mind being seen at The Ivy or being shot in paparazzi photos. Now enmeshed in pop culture, he is set to be CNN’s new prime-time television host.
CNN had its bout of experiencing the worst quarter in its history, dropping 43% at the beginning of this year. The network, assumptuously, is seeking entertainment to cure the ratings malaise. Despite CNN senior vice president of programming Bart Feder’s words that, “We want a host who will make news and break news with provocative and entertaining interviews across a wide spectrum of subjects, from politics to pop culture,” critics are left wondering, is Piers’ new gig just symbolic of entertainment and celebrities disdainfully overuling news? (As if inviting Michael Lohan to Larry King’s hot seat was the most genuine news-worthy decision by CNN.) Keep on pointing fingers while standing on a soap box of Journalism integrity… media knows that Journalism is a messier shade of gray than ever before.
Vogue’s Hadley Freeman writes, Piers’ “recent interview series on British TV, Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, was allegedly what caught CNN’s eye; the series created the kind of ‘event television’” that is hoped to be transcended onto CNN. It’s intended that Piers Morgan charisma and persistence will break down the emotional walls of guests. Politically, however, Piers insists that he will remind neutral while leading platforms for discussion.
Informed? Endearing? Persistent? Persistence is also what got Celia Walden to fall in love with the Journalist who was told he never had a chance. In 2006 Piers, separated from his first wife, “conducted a magazine interview with the 29-year-old lifestyle columnist Celia Walden, a British politician’s daughter.” He was smitten.
“He just wore me down,” Celia told Vogue. “And I remember saying initially, ‘Don’t get the wrong idea, because nothing will ever happen.” And he said, ‘Oh it will.’ Don’t,” she says, “underestimate him.” (Oh, just another love story of double standards when a persistent man relentlessly chasing a woman looks romantic and charming, and if the gender roles were reversed? “Romantic” and “charming” becomes “crazy” and “psycho.” Tangential thoughts.)
Like winning the girl, Piers has potential to win back ratings and remodel CNN while also respecting its roots. Turning into a celebrity has made a once unemployed Piers Morgan now worth $25 million. CNN may just see itself mirroring Piers’ career trajectory.