Piers Morgan jumped on gun control because he assumed that dead kids would be his path to stardom, but it’s not as if he had any other options. Morgan’s personality is off-putting, it was built for UK tabloid journalism, not for American cable news viewing.
Viewers might be fine with Morgan hosting a reality show or game show, but no one wants to sit and listen to him sneer about assault rifles in Arkansas day after day.
To a Euro elitist whose only real experience of America was hobnobbing with bicoastal elites, gun control made sense and it won him applause in Hollywood and the media, but no one actually tuned in.
There’s no way to quantify how much of a factor the discussion of gun control on “Piers Morgan Live” has contributed to its ratings (which were never all that great to begin with), but the show’s numbers have fallen more sharply since it became a frequent subject on the show.
In the end, are guns what killed CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live”?
The show, hosted by anti-gun crusader Morgan, continues to struggle in the Nielsens. And this month, the start of the Michael Dunn loud-music murder trial in Florida has put the issue of gun control back in the forefront. February has also produced six of the show’s smallest 10 audiences since it bowed in January 2011.
Opposite “Piers Morgan” on Tuesday, “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel drew 2.07 million viewers (including 354,000 adults 25-54) while MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” attracted 906,000 (including 227,000 in the demo).
“Piers Morgan Live” isn’t CNN’s only problem in primetime, of course, as the entire lineup has struggled and CNN topper Jeff Zucker has promised that 2014 would be a year of “shake up.”
Zucker is going to push CNN deeper into infotainment than it already is. It’s probably going to work. HLN is a success and viewers will tune in to CNN’s Deadliest Sharks and CNN’s Funniest Courtroom Videos. But Morgan is surplus. The only thing he brings to the table is his supposed celeb contacts and those aren’t much use if no one watches.
It may not be too long before Piers Morgan announces that he’s returning to the UK, spinning it as an exciting new opportunity instead of a silent dismissal.