Monday, January 17, 2011

Piers Morgan Has A Blah CNN Debut

So is Piers Morgan all set to take over from Larry King as CNN's favorite chat host?
Somehow I just don't think the British newspaper editor will last.
Last night's first episode was a snooze festival as the two kept patting each other on the backs.
Morgan's choice of Oprah Winfrey was bland and predictable and she directed the interview never once letting Morgan pierce her formidable talk armor.
Why Oprah? She's on TV every morning and now has her own network. wasn't this a case of over exposure?
Morgan seemed awed by the event and the setting in a hotel room didn't help much anyhow.
When King reigned supreme --the stars and the politicians came to him (save for Brando and Streisand).
Oprah pronounced "You're good" as if offering a papal benediction.
She told him once not to go there --the subject was her best friend.
In other words she took over. What news value was there here?
The one time King met with TV critics he claimed rival talkers were over prepared. He never read up on his subjects and used street talk to bering guests down to his level, he boasted.
At his peak he was unstoppable but in the past few years seemed enfeebled by declining health and old age.
The bigger question concerns the future of the hour long talk show.
King was the first on a news network but now Fox is all talk and no news. Talk is everywhere.
It's the same with the Tonight Show. When Carson was there he was a must see. With the audience increasingly fragmented it's a case of who cares if it's Conan or Leno?
The competition to get guests is now fierce. King was still pulling them in at the end because he had a certain cachet.
Morgan with his veddy British accent won't excite the great American heartland --and his questions about cricket seemed to merely annoy Oprah.
Morgan laughed nervously too often. He realized he wasn't making it. It was dudsville the first night out.
Pretaping the show gave it a flat, forced look. CNN is supposed to be a news network not a talk network. There wa absolutely sno news on this first episode.
CNN already has made a bad decision with Parker/Spitzer starring two talented anchors who obviously have nothing in common. Low ratings have followed.
Morgan isn't likely to get CNN's falling ratings back on track.
Tuning in at 9 to King was a tradition. He was a familiar face who commented on the day's politics in a non-threatening way. Simply stated Morgan's not American. Viewers won't be comfortable getting his take on U.S. affairs, I'm afraid.
Crumpets and tea anyone?

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