Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Piers Morgan To Replace Larry King?

Speculation and rumor has been burning through media columns and blogs over the past few days after multiple media reports suggesting that CNN is looking to replace Larry King with Piers Morgan emerged.

On Saturday, Britain's Daily Telegraph printed this story, suggesting that Piers Morgan was close to quitting his role on Britain's Got Talent - enabling him to concentrate on a prime time gig in America.

A television source said: "CNN bosses have been desperately searching for somebody to revamp the show. Larry's ratings are massively down year on year – and Piers is just the chap.

"Piers is utterly thrilled by the prospect of the deal and knows that taking over the Larry King show means that something will have to give.

Two days later, the Daily Telegraph ran another story, this time offering a few more details about an imminent deal.

The Britain's Got Talent judge and former newspaper editor is on the verge of signing a four-year contract to take over King's primetime show in the autumn.

He has built a profile in the US as a judge on America's Got Talent, which is made by rival network NBC. CNN executives were also impressed by his British chat show, Piers Morgan's Life Stories, in which he interviewed Gordon Brown.

On Monday, CNN responded to the reports:

"Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of people who would love to succeed Larry King if and when he moves on, but rumors that we are close to signing a deal for a Larry King replacement are untrue. We are currently looking at replacing our 8 p.m. program and that is our priority"

"Larry is a beloved member of the team, and he will continue to be part of the CNN family into the future."

On the face of it, the statement pours cold water on the recent speculation. But ICN takes a closer look and reads between the lines.

The only thing that CNN outright denies is that the network is “close to signing a deal” for a King replacement. That’s it. Here’s what CNN didn’t deny…

1) That it was talking with Piers Morgan.
2) That it is working on a deal with Piers Morgan.
3) That it is considering Piers Morgan to replace Larry King at some point.

As they say in the classics, watch this space, because it's unlikely that media writers will let this story rest this week.

On a related note, a belated happy anniversary to Larry King. June 3 marked King's 25 years at CNN.

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