Piers Morgan Live (formerly known as Piers Morgan Tonight) is a talk show on CNN that was hosted by Piers Morgan. The show premiered on January 17, 2011, and filled the former Larry King Live timeslot. The theme music was written by Anthony James, composer and CEO of British company Music Candy, and his writing partner Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis, Music Candy's Director. Piers Morgan Live was recorded primarily in CNN's studios at the Time Warner Center in New York City.
It was announced on February 23, 2014, that Piers Morgan Live would be canceled; the date of the final show was March 28, 2014.
Throughout the show's run, Morgan interviewed many guests, including politicians, celebrities and members of the public. His first guest was Oprah Winfrey. Soon after the show's debut, when the Egyptian revolution began, the show changed from a Larry King Live-like interview format to a breaking news-format program. Morgan had never anchored a live news show, but did have experience with breaking news as a newspaper journalist. Because of major news events such as the Arab Spring and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the ratio of taped to live interviews was the opposite of his expectations.
After a respectable start on the debut show, and tripling the viewing figures of King's program, Piers Morgan Tonight had suffered from falling ratings. On his first show 2.1 million U.S. viewers tuned in, but by the second show the ratings dropped to 1.3 million. The January 28, 2011, edition garnered just 498,000 viewers. The show received its second largest audience on February 28, 2011, as 1.346 million people tuned in to see Morgan interview actor Charlie Sheen, whose recent abnormal behavior made headlines. However, by the autumn of 2011, the program's ratings were trending downward. In October 2011, Piers Morgan Tonight had an average total audience of 589,000 each night, down from Larry King Live's average of 657,000 in the same month a year before. In November 2011, the program had an average of just 154,000 viewers ages 25 to 54. In contrast, Larry King Live had an average of 161,000 in November 2010. Piers Morgan Tonight also had fewer total viewers that month than Larry King Live did a year before, 620,000 versus 635,000.
In June 2012, it was reported that Piers Morgan Tonight had the lowest ratings for a CNN primetime slot in 21 years. During the week of July 30, 2012, to August 5, 2012, the program averaged 314,000 viewers overall, with a mere 81,000 in the 25 to 54 viewing demographic. That average was the lowest week Piers Morgan Tonight has had since its debut.
Despite a fourth-quarter uptick around the 2012 U.S. presidential election, in January 2013 Mediabistro.com reported, "Compared to last year, Morgan’s program is down −19% in Total Viewers and −22% in the [age 25–54] demographic". The February 28, 2013 broadcast of the show received only 87,000 viewers in the key 25 to 54 viewing demographic; a yearly low. That month, the show was also down 27% in total viewers and 38% in the demo from its January 17, 2011 debut. In June 2013, Piers Morgan Live garnered an average 121,000 viewers in the targeted demographic, its lowest-rated month since premiering in January 2011.
Consequently, on February 23, 2014, with headlines like "CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Live’ Ratings Sink To Second Lowest Ever, CNN Ties Sixth Worst Primetime Result" coming out in a steady trickle, it was announced that Piers Morgan Live would be cancelled.
A March 2012 report at MTV.com claimed that "Morgan has apparently felt slighted over the years by Madonna, ... he claims he was lied to by the singer's publicist". On March 26, 2012, MTV further reported, "Morgan escalated the feud, sending a snippy message to Madonna in which he welcomed her to Twitter while smacking her down once again. ... Morgan wrote, 'Welcome to Twitter @MadonnaMDNAday – you're still banned from my show. Love Piers.'" Madonna's manager Guy Oseary released a letter from Morgan's show only five months old, explicitly stating, "Piers Morgan is delighted to invite Madonna to be a special guest ... where she would be welcome to promote her new film and forthcoming album." MTV summarized the result: "Morgan then banned Oseary from all his shows too, due to what he called "guilt by association." In its report on the matter, the Daily Mail referred to "[Morgan's] outlandish views towards celebrities" and categorized Morgan's explanations as "confusing".
In September 2012, it was reported that Morgan had additionally banned from his program actor Kelsey Grammer. Morgan himself claimed "Kelsey Grammer saw a photo of his ex wife Camille in the open to our show and legged it." TVGuide reported, "All plans were still a go for the segment until Grammer actually got in the hot seat and saw the footage the producers had planned to peg to the segment, including a picture of his ex-wife". On September 26, 2012, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported that "many say [it] was an ambush by Piers". The Huffington Post reported, "before the interview was scheduled, it was made clear that Grammer would answer all questions, including those about [his ex-wife]. His sole request was not to show any images of her.... Keeping it classy, Grammer doesn’t seem at all concerned that he won’t be welcome back to Morgan's show, which has been struggling in the ratings on CNN."
Morgan has also banned Hugh Grant, as he thinks that he is "tedious".
The show was aired in the United States and Canada on cable channel CNN and simulcast to the rest of the world via CNN International.