Briton Piers Morgan named Larry King replacement

Wed Sep 8, 2010 6:27pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British television host Piers Morgan is to replace veteran CNN talk show host Larry King in January, bringing what is expected to be a more acerbic tone to the long-running prime time U.S. interview show.

CNN said on Wednesday that Morgan, 45, a former British tabloid newspaper editor and currently a judge on the popular NBC show "America's Got Talent", will start his CNN show in January. King announced in June he would end "Larry King Live" after a 25-year reign.

Morgan said he would bring "journalistic rigor" to the job and said he would like one of his first interviews to be with U.S. President Barack Obama.

"Outside of America, people love him (Obama)...I think he's an amazing charismatic figure who's going through a tough time at the moment, and the midterm elections are coming....I'd love to sit down with him and have a frank interview," Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter.

He also said he would love to be the first to interview "Mel Gibson or Lindsay Lohan or whoever is in the news who is relevant and current."

The name of Morgan's CNN show, which will air weekdays at 9pm, has not been announced but it was billed by CNN as a "candid, in-depth newsmaker interview program" based in New York with Morgan also working from London and Los Angeles.

Morgan has hosted a variety of shows in Britain and has a reputation on "America's Got Talent" as a caustic critic in the vein of fellow Briton Simon Cowell. He has also appeared alongside Cowell on "Britain's Got Talent" since 2007.

Morgan will keep his job with "America's Got Talent". But he is expected to leave his four-year long judging stint on sister show "Britain's Got Talent", which is scheduled to resume in January 2011, according to industry sources.   Continued...

<p>British television host Piers Morgan (L) and veteran CNN talk show host Larry King (R) are shown in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/CNN/Handout</p>