Despite several reports that CNN is poised to sign a deal with “America’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan to replace Larry King, people inside the network said there is no rush to pick a successor to King, who has another year left on his contract.
Rather, executives remain intently focused on developing a new show for the 8 p.m. ET time slot now that anchor Campbell Brown has decided to leave the network. CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein is strongly considering a political point-counterpoint show in the vein of “Crossfire,” which he canceled shortly after joining the network. Among those being evaluated as possible panelists are former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
“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,” said a CNN spokeswoman. “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.”
The New York Post first reported last week that Morgan, a onetime British tabloid newspaper editor who serves as a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent,” as well as the American version of that show, was in talks with CNN. Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that Morgan was close to signing a four-year deal with the network.
If CNN does tap Morgan to come aboard in some role, he would bring a background in entertainment programming and an interest in the power of celebrity. Aside from his work as a reality-competition judge, he was also the winning contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008. He hosted a British show called “The Dark Side of Fame” and currently has a talk show in Britain called “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.” In 2004, he was fired from his post as editor of the Daily Mirror after running fake photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees.
-- Matea Gold
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