Three years after taking over for Larry King’s timeslot on CNN, the low-rated “Piers Morgan Live” is coming to an end.
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” said Morgan, a former UK tabloid editor and “America’s Got Talent” judge. “…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.”
That audience has been slim to none lately, and the ratings were so low (less than 600,000 viewers, per Variety) that CNN president Jeff Zucker ran out of patience. Still, Morgan has managed to stay in the headlines himself. Most notably, he has become a staunch gun control advocate, especially in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shootings in 2012.
He got into explosive arguments about gun control with guests on his show, and made his opinions known on Twitter. In response to Morgan’s views, radio host Alex Jones started a petition to have Morgan deported, and got so many signatures that the White House was forced to officially respond (it read, in part, “…no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment.”) Morgan has rarely kept quiet down on any gun-related issue, even tweeting over the weekend:
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 23, 2014
Recently, Morgan was heavily criticized for his treatment of transgender activist Janet Mock, who came on his show to promote her memoir; Morgan asked many questions about how she was “born a boy,” and Mock said he “sensationalized” her story. (Mock later went back on the show and Morgan defended himself as people accused him of “transphobia.”)
Also, as a former UK tabloid editor, Morgan was also questioned in connection with the British phone hacking scandal, though has repeatedly stated he had no part in it. In 1994, Morgan was named the youngest-ever editor of News of the World, the tabloid that has since shut down.
But through it all, there’s only one thing that really matters to CNN: Ratings. And Morgan wasn’t able to translate his controversies into people watching his show. Still, according to NYT, Morgan is “in talks about…remaining at CNN in a different role.”