The program, hosted by former newspaper editor Piers Morgan, had struggled to gain traction at the 9 p.m. hour, and was routinely beaten in the ratings by cable competitors.
“CNN confirms that “Piers Morgan Live” is ending,” the network said in a statement. “The date of the final program is still to be determined.”
Piers Morgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Piers Morgan Live” replaced the CNN show hosted by iconic TV interviewer Larry King in early 2011, a tall order for any presenter.
While the two programs had a similar format and a focus on newsmaker interviews, the U.K.-born Morgan was never able to attract an audience that could rival that of Fox News during the key primetime hour.
“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan told the New York Times on Sunday.
In his interview with the Times, Morgan said he thought the audience may have grown weary of his focus on gun control — a major topic of conversation on the show in the wake of several mass shootings in the United States.
“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing,” he said. “There is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.”
Morgan has also been under pressure as a result of an inquiry into phone hacking by U.K. papers.
The former Daily Mirror editor was interviewed late last year while in Britain by officers involved in the investigation into claims that journalists illegally hacked people’s voice mail to get stories.
Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, has pledged to reinvigorate the channel’s primetime lineup.
The network’s ratings have declined precipitously in recent years, especially during the key money-making evening hours. Meanwhile, rival News Corp’s () Fox has solidified its position with several top-rated evening shows. MSNBC, a Comcast ( ) unit that has long been a ratings laggard, has billed itself as the liberal answer to right-leaning Fox.
Piers Morgan Admits Gun Control Advocacy Led to Show Being Axed
After his show was axed by CNN, television host Piers Morgan admitted that his relentless advocacy for gun control was the primary factor behind plunging ratings that led to the decision to shelve the broadcast, proving that Americans will not tolerate the establishment media undermining constitutional freedoms in concert with White House talking points.
Asserting that his show being canceled had nothing to do with recent revelations that he had been interviewed by police over the phone hacking scandal, Morgan admitted, “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.”
After taking over Larry King’s spot in January 2011, Morgan’s viewing figures have been on a steady decline, sinking to just 50,000 viewers among adults aged 25-54 for his February 18 broadcast.
Morgan undoubtedly attempted to capitalize on the unusually high ratings he enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of radio host Alex Jones’ appearance by continuously pushing the gun control angle.
Although this worked for a while, the sheer lack of support for such measures amongst the American people (polls show enthusiasm for restricting Second Amendment rights is fading), eventually took its toll.
However, Morgan’s treatment is not a special case. He is the victim of the general malaise that mainstream media finds itself mired in thanks to Americans’ growing distrust of television news.
Distrust in mainstream media has been on a steady decline for years, with a recent Gallup poll confirming that just 23 per cent of Americans trust the institution of television news. This lack of confidence has driven ratings down, with MSNBC losing almost half of its viewers over the course of just 12 months, shedding 45 per cent of its audience. CNN also lost 48 per cent of its viewers over the same time period.
The United States’ world ranking in terms of freedom of the press also recently fell to number 46, below the likes of South Africa, Slovenia and Lithuania.
Earlier this month, the New York Times’s own writers told a newspaper that NY Times opinion pieces are now seen as “irrelevant” and have no impact on public discourse whatsoever.
The cancellation of Piers Morgan Tonight should be celebrated as another benchmark of the mainstream media’s decline and fall, while sounding a warning to other broadcasters – particularly MSNBC – that more and more Americans are rejecting mainstream media talking points as networks increasingly resemble little more than state media mouthpieces
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