Pier-ing Into the Abyss of Cancellation
Charlie Cooke won’t have Piers Morgan to kick around for much longer. David Carr, media reporter for the New York Times:
There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
Hey, I’m a fairly big fan of foreign news when something dramatic is happening — what used to be CNN’s bread and butter — but it’s not like America doesn’t have enough interesting domestic news stories! The issue wasn’t that Morgan tried to cover British news to an American audience. The issue was that he kept communicating to an American audience why he thought their country was so bad.
CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.
“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,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
Oh, it’s not the accent. Try Charlie Cooke in that time-slot and watch the audience eat up our Beatle.
And he’s up for it!:
This is the perfect moment for ‘Charles Cooke Live.’ . . . ProTip: You should actually like — and seek to understand — the country you talk to, and talk about, every evening.
That puts the finger on Morgan’s real problem. It’s pretty disingenuous for him to suggest that his show’s failure stems from Americans’ being naturally inclined to dislike, distrust, or be disinclined to watch those who hail from the British Isles. We go to James Bond movies, and hand out bunches of Oscars to British actors every year. I own a million T-Mobile phones just because Catherine Zeta Jones told me I should “get more.” Americans went ga-ga for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, The Police, and the kids are going nuts for One Direction. Every kid these days grows up reading Harry Potter. We on the right revere Margaret Thatcher. Lots of Americans obsess over “Downton Abbey”; I obsess over “Coupling.” We who watch Fox News been conditioned to think of Stuart Varney’s voice as the most authoritative and trusted in economic matters. We’ve even forgiven the U.K. for the Spice Girls.
A few Jolts ago, I noted that every time I get asked, “Can you believe what Piers Morgan said?” my response is . . .
Was it something that suggested the Second Amendment shouldn’t exist, or that most gun owners were dangerous, unstable, and a menace? Yeah, he’s said that kind of stuff before. A lot of times, in fact. He’s gotten called out on it many, many times.
That’s just who Piers Morgan is. He’s not going to change.
And he never changed. Instead, viewers changed the channel.