David Carr of the New York Times reports:
Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show
And here’s why: he’s not American. . .
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.
. . .Or it’s slow-news days. . .
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said, adding that although there had been times when the show connected in terms of audience, slow news days were problematic.
. . .Nah, it’s guns. . .
“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.”
. . .More? Piers feels he’s better with celebrities. . .
I’d like to do work — interviews with big celebrities and powerful people — that is better suited to what I do well and fit with what Jeff is trying to do with the network.”
. . .Oh, wait. It’s his accent. . .
Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard. Mr. Morgan is clean shaven and handsome enough, but there are tells in his speech — the way he says the president’s name for one thing (Ob-AA-ma) — that suggest that he is not from around here.
Carr returns to guns, however, as the main reason for the disconnect in his conclusion:
In the current media age, no one is expected to be a eunuch, without values or beliefs, but Mr. Morgan’s lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way.
We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country. There are folkways peculiar to America that Mr. Morgan is just learning, including the fact that if you want to stick out, you first have to work on fitting in.
If the gun issue was the driver of Morgan’s departure, it’s his own fault. Morgan would shift to cupcake-mode when he was talking guns with a celebrity like Rob Lowe (a gun-owner), and go into bananas-mode when talking guns with his “regular” guests, like Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro. Morgan never understood his own hypocrisy, too, of living in a house protected by armed guards or working in a building protected by armed guards and the idea that Americans who can’t afford such a lifestyle might want the same sort of protection for themselves and their families.
So, looking back over the list Carr gives of reasons why Morgan failed in America, it’s best to focus on Morgan’s love of celebrity. Morgan feels that 1., this group is something special, and 2., he is part of this group.
One thing Carr didn;t mention: I’m not sure any host will do well at CNN in the 9 p.m. slot unless CNN radically changes the format. Larry King and Piers Morgan are old and tired’; viewers want a Jon Stewart or Greg Gutfeld type. CNN, while searching for a replacement, should look to bring the success of the late-night hosts into a time slot more people can enjoy.