CNN ending Piers Morgan's prime-time show

DAN WHITCOMB
Last updated 15:53 24/02/2014
Piers Morgan
PIERS MORGAN: "It's been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings."

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CNN has decided to end the marquee prime-time talk show hosted by veteran British journalist Piers Morgan, the cable news network said.

A date for the final broadcast of Piers Morgan Live on CNN had not been determined and a spokeswoman did not immediately say if Morgan would remain at the network in any other role.

A source at CNN said network president Jeffrey Zucker had made the decision to cancel the show following a series of discussions with Morgan about its future.

Morgan, 48, could not immediately be reached for comment but acknowledged in a New York Times interview published on Sunday that as a Brit he did not always connect with American audiences, a problem that showed itself in the program's ratings.

"It's been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings," Morgan, a former editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid in Britain, told the Times.

The talk-show host had infuriated conservatives during his three-year run on CNN with frequent discourses on gun control.

He was the subject of a petition drive by Americans seeking to have him deported for on-air comments he made following a December 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"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," Morgan told the Times.

"That's run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me," he said.

Morgan, a former judge on the America's Got Talent show who replaced Larry King on CNN in 2011, said earlier this month that he had been questioned by London police in connection with accusations of phone-hacking at the Daily Mirror.

The veteran journalist, who has always denied any involvement in phone hacking, said he was interviewed by police after voluntarily going to a London police station in December.

Britain's newspaper industry was rocked in 2011 by the closure of Rupert Murdoch's best-selling Sunday tabloid News of the World after revelations some staff had regularly hacked into phones to generate front page scoops.

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, two former News of the World editors who are both close associates of Prime Minister David Cameron, are on trial in London accused of conspiracy to hack phones between 2000 and 2006.

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- Reuters

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