Now that PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT has premiered on CNN with its first week of big interview gets (Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, Ricky Gervais), the nightly weekday series hosted by Piers Morgan, will now have a chance to settle into its format and find its ultimate direction and focus in the weeks (and months) to come.
During CNN’s Television Critic sessions earlier this month, ASSIGNMENT X was able to get a few exclusive minutes with the charismatic British personality (right before the show debuted) to find out where he feels the news series will be heading and what he hopes to accomplish with the time period previously occupied by the now retired Larry King. Here’s what Morgan had to say …
ASSIGNMENT X: It takes a lot to be upfront and honest which you clearly excel in – will that be par for the course with your new show and the direction you’ll be taking with your interview subjects?
PIERS MORGAN: I believe in being direct. When you’re asked a question, you answer directly.
AX: We’re now in a world of television journalism that has this tabloid journalism mentality, what will you do to set yourself apart from that, so you’re still retaining your news cred?
MORGAN: I look at Twitter trending if I want to know what news is. “What are people actually talking about?” Sometimes journalists can get so serious that they decide what news is and forget the audience and the audience will be thinking about other stuff. I think Twitter trending is a fascinating way of working out what people care about.
AX: Your first week is filled with heavy hitters, what will be your tact once the debut week is over?
MORGAN: I believe every single person has a great story in them, you just have to find it.
AX: When a big story hits, like the Anna Nicole Smith tragedy, the news cycle exploits that 24/7, even if, at a certain point, it ceases to be news and more of a circus. Will you follow suit, or will you find a more balanced way of covering things of that nature in the future?
MORGAN: I think it depends on the story. I’m not going to commit to any hypotheticals, because it depends on the story. I have very good instincts from the time running newspapers in Britain about how long a story lasts before the public gets bored. Even Princess Diana’s death, which was the biggest news story outside of 9/11 in my lifetime, after two weeks, the British public went back to work. I don’t think you can over-egg the soufflé.
(additional reporting by A.C. Ferrante)