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Piers Morgan is kaput. CNN has confirmed the story that Morgan himself confirmed to The New York Times about an hour ago.
The blunt and unlovely statement: "CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending. The date of the final program is still to be determined."
Morgan did what he pretty much had to do -- put on a good face in an interview with the Times' David Carr, who knew the score of this game long ago, too, or, as Carr precisely and accurately puts it in his scoop:
"It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial."
Morgan told the Times: "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 said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
"Jeff" is Jeff Zucker, CNN chief.
Meanwhile, a Times of London story said Morgan may have taken the fall for his anti-gun stance. Good for Morgan, but apparently the Times of London has never heard of "ratings" -- as in "pretty darned not good."
Jay Leno is leaving "The Tonight Show" next week, but on Friday, CNN will air this:
After an incredible run on top, Jay Leno is wrapping up his reign on The Tonight Show. Jay Leno: Mr. Comedy airing Friday, January 31st at 10pm ET on CNN, looks back at how Leno earned his stripes on the comedy club circuit in the 70’s, made his first splash on TV in the 80’s and then, in the 90’s, took...Read more »
Over the past two days, there have been two major television interviews with Jay Leno -- first, Sunday night on "60 Minutes," and again Monday morning on the "Today" show. In both instances, he more or less rules out a return to late night. But what about other times of the day? That subject --- if not exactly that question -- came up in his exit interview with the Hollywood Reporter, posted Monday morning.
It's a good and far-ranging interview, and once again, Jay expresses a sense that the transition is fine with him, and adds a little supporting evidence by saying that in fact he was supposed to stay until September (that's known) but that NBC wanted him to move aside six months earlier to give Jimmy Fallon a big prelaunch platform with the Olympics -- but that NBC assured him his staff would be paid through September. He indicates that this goodwill gesture was certainly appreciated.
But what about that "what's next" question? He tells THR there have been lots of offers but when he's asked about his relationship with CNN chief Jeff Zucker, he certainly doesn't pointedly rule out a move to the cable network -- a 10 p.m. show has been rumored, in part because there's a widespread industry expectation that Piers Morgan's contract will not be renewed, and that he'll be moved aside by midyear. Here's Jay (Lacey Rose, THR's smart reporter on the TV beat handles this adroitly):
There's been talk about Jeff Zucker expressing interest in you for CNN. A lot of people are interested . . . But you and Zucker have a rich history, including the chapter when he dumped you for Conan. There's no grudge? No, because Jeff believed in "The Tonight Show." When we did "The Tonight Show" [during his tenure atop NBC], if there was a big star in New York and we wanted them tomorrow night, Jeff would say, "Authorize the jet. Find $25,000. We want them." Boom. Those kinds of things don't necessarily happen anymore.
What happens now? It's just different. Jeff comes from a talk show background. He did the "Today" show, so he understands what's necessary for a daily show. You do whatever you have to do to get guests, no matter what it costs. You worry about it later. He was always very helpful that way. The fact that other things didn't work out? OK, I get it.
Apologies for this later reminder of yet another documentary on the JFK assassination, but this one should be both worthy and worth your time: CNN's "The Assassination of President Kennedy," Thursday at 9, and produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (and Mark Herzog). It'll repeat at 11, and again Sunday at 9 and 11. (And there will be other airdates. Hard to miss this one.)
I've only sampled this two-hour film (and will watch more) but what I've seen makes this particular entry stand out because it's one of the rare films to actually build the entire tragic day -- Nov. 22, 1963 -- almost entirely through archival material, some of which I had not yet seen before. There are also many interviews, including of Dan Rather.
Again, I'm impressed with what I've seen, and no re-creations or docu-dramaturgy here, which has tended to distract or distort some of the other films.
Some clips, and Newsday app readers please head to Newsday.com/tvzone to view:
Ted Turner: There is no name in the wide world of cable that evokes more history, more color, more controversy, more abiding interest than this one. And after all these years, CNN is finally profiling him. (The first such profile on Ted's creation, CNN? Will get back to you on that question, but I don't recall one, offhand...)
Will this be hard-hitting? Oh come on! It's...Read more »
"Reliable Sources," a CNN Sunday fixture for many years and long ably hosted by Howard Kurtz until he recently left for Fox News, has named a new host: Brian Stelter.
Stelter — now the former media reporter for The New York Times — was also named senior media correspondent for the network.
Here's CNN chief's Jeff Zucker's news release quote:
“Brian has emerged as one...Read more »