24 Feb 2014

CNN pulls plug on Piers Morgan show

6:44 pm on 24 February 2014

CNN has decided to end television host Piers Morgan's talk show after its ratings plunged.

The former British tabloid editor - who irked conservative Americans after launching somewhat of a crusade for greater gun control measures - struggled after stepping into the shoes of popular, down-to-earth host Larry King in the coveted 9pm prime-time slot, AFP reports.

Piers Morgan admits his show has taken "a bath" in the ratings.

Piers Morgan admits his show has taken "a bath" in the ratings. Photo: AFP / Getty Images North America

King, an 80-year-old talk show star who now hosts a show broadcasting on Hulu, Ora TV and Russia's RT television, is known for his ability to connect immediately and easily with ordinary Americans. He hosted Larry King Live on CNN from 1985 to 2010, wearing his trademark wide-rimmed glasses, shirt with rolled-up sleeves and suspenders.

Morgan, in contrast, was inherently British, making repeated references to cricket - a sport with little presence in the United States - and professed his ignorance about American football and preference for soccer.

CNN's vice-president of communications Barbara Levin confirmed that Piers Morgan Live would end but the date of the final programme had yet to be decided.

US media reports said the show could finish as early as March, but that Morgan may stay with CNN in another role.

In an interview with The New York Times, Morgan acknowledged that the show was underperforming.

"It's been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings. Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues including guns, which has been very polarising, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it."