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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Is Piers Morgan the new face of CNN prime time? Really?

14

July

Piers-morgan2 According to the Los Angeles Times, America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan just overcame a major hurdle to taking over Larry King's prime 9 p.m. real estate at CNN, finalizing a contract with the Peacock Network allowing him to appear on the cable newschannel while also working on the unscripted talent show.

This would seem to clear the way for CNN to make one of the oddest hiring choices I've seen -- and I say this a few weeks after they hired an ex-politician kicked out of the New York governor's mansion for hiring prostitutes.

But it also jibes with something I heard from a high-powered TV executive not long ago, who was confident Morgan would get the job -- rumor was, people were already being interviewed for production jobs -- and cautioned against underestimating the former tabloid newspaper editor.

Morgan comes with his own odd baggage. Made the youngest tab editor in the British journalism world at age 28, he had to leave his job as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 after the newspaper published photos purportedly of English soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners which turned out to be fake.

Piers3 Larryking-torre Since leaving the newspaper world, Morgan's appeared on a range of TV shows in Britain and America, including America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent, The Celebrity Apprentice and an interview show, Piers Morgan's Life Stories.

In hiring Morgan, CNN is taking a chance, passing up more conventional choices such as American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and CNN Headline News host Joy Behar for a British celebrity most Americans know only as an insufferably overconfident reality TV star.

Still, a sample of Morgan's British interview show reveals he's already helmed an English version of King's program, reducing then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to tears as the official spoke about losing a child.

And his show was taped before a live audience.

Check a few samples of Morgan's work below. Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow may be in for a bit more competition than anyone expects.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:15pm]

    

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