According to FTVLive, a highly connected website (which broke the Jay Leno to 10pm on NBC story back in the day), Piers Morgan and CNN are weighing their options and Morgan will either leave the network or take over a late night slot away from primetime (most likely at midnight). Morgan's show has been able to gain a huge following whenever big news breaks, guns are in the forefront of national conversation or he has a big interview. But other than that, on most days the show tends to lag behind in the ratings at the 9pm hour because there's so many other options on cable, broadcast and on cable news.
I believe a move to midnight would be the best situation for Morgan because he would be the only show on cable news that is live and also because the format which his show currently takes on (inviting hardcore, loud debaters from all sorts of angles to debate on issues) fits the late night more than it does in primetime for a CNN network which is mostly hard news and intelligent debate during those hours.
What would air at 11pm? The Erin Burnett OutFront reruns would most likely continue or possibly a live simulcast of CNN International. I personally believe though that either Don Lemon's "No Talking Points" weekend show or Ashleigh Banfield's "Legal Briefs" morning show should move to the 11pm time slot. Both programs feature personalities who, similar to Piers Morgan, aren't afraid to be controversial.
So who replaces Piers Morgan if he goes to midnight?
1. Katie Couric - Couric's relationship with Zucker makes her the top contender. ABC is inevitably going to cancel her daytime show and if they can't find other ways to keep her satisfied then she's out. As I've suggested in the past, ABC should give her "The View", primetime specials with newsmaker interviews, GMA and World News roles and an interview show on Yahoo.
The problem with Couric going to 9pm is that she would be so much more bland than Piers Morgan. She's not the kind of person that comes out and says how she feels which is why her daytime show is disastrous. Unless she does an hour of hard news similar to AC360 which features great investigations and interviews with no fluff and all tough questions, I don't see how this succeeds.
2. Joy Behar - She's currently jobless, has experience working in cable news, draws pretty decent ratings in the demos despite her own age and provides a niche which no one else has: COMEDY!! (besides Comedy Central, of course) She could provide a great balance between Cooper's hard news show and his panel show.
3. Donny Deutsch - The marketing executive has been a frequent guest host for Piers Morgan Live, has experience on cable news with his old CNBC show and would probably create a niche of discussing watercooler stories (The kind you would hear on "Today" or "Good Morning America") rather than strict hard news. It could possibly work in attracting moms, but it's not a good idea because at nighttime moms are unlikely not watching CNN and wouldn't make it a daily viewing habit and the ones that would watch are already watching Dr. Drew on HLN.
4. Howard Stern - It's a long shot. Very long shot. But Howard Stern isn't happy at Sirius right now. He doesn't look like he'll be going into terrestrial radio anytime soon. He probably won't be satisfied by internet radio, which would put him in more obscurity that satellite did before. He loves TV. Could Stern move his X-rated show to CNN? It would be a move which would cause many to question CNN's journalistic credibility but it would also be a genius move for the network to become the center of pop culture.
Those are the 4 people who I believe are the most likely to take over the 9pm slot. If I had a say, I would also suggest CNN look at YouTube stars with big audiences like Phil DeFranco and Ben Swann. Anyways, another scenario in the situation could see Piers Morgan leaving CNN altogether. He'll continue to do his interview show in Britain on ITV and write columns for the Daily Mail but will he continue to have a role in American programming? What does he do next?
1. Fox - There are two possibilities at Fox. Murdoch and Piers go way back and Murdoch has always said that he wouldn't be afraid to put a non-conservative on Fox News. I wouldn't be surprised if Piers got his own weekend show and was a regular panelist on other Fox News programs. I could also just as easily see him becoming a full-time soccer analyst on Fox Sports and hosting a daily soccer/international sport show on Fox Sports 1.
2. NBC - There are two possibilities at NBC as well. There's a good chance NBC wouldn't mind putting him back on America's Got Talent. NBC could also possibly have him play an analyst/interviewer role with their EPL coverage and maybe even have him host a daily or weekly soccer show on NBCSN. If he were to sign with NBC, I doubt he does anything for the news division or MSNBC.
3. AJA - They could definitely use him to add starpower to the network and increase debate on the network's airwaves which are mostly filled with hard news reports.
4. Mail Online - Could one of the top entertainment websites in the U.S. use Morgan as the steering wheel to start more production in video? Morgan could possibly start a midday interview show in the middle of Mail Online's New York studios which could draw viewers to the site and give Morgan something to do. And if the internet show does well, maybe it's syndicated to regular TV similar to the transition TMZ's show made from the internet to TV?
5. Back to Britain. - Maybe Piers just decides to go back to Britain and stay lowkey?
The point here is that there's not a lot of options for Morgan if he leaves CNN which is why I believe it's more likely that Morgan keeps a spot on CNN, just at a later time period.
OTHER MEDIA TIDBITS
- ABC is developing a daytime show for Monique which will in effect be replacing Katie's show. Unlike Katie, Monique has personality and connections. If she gets the right push from ABC and is promoted well on "GMA" and "Kelly and Michael" then I believe ABC has a hit. It's also a great move by ABC to add another African-American talker to daytime in a time period which already has Wendy Williams, Queen Latifah, "The Real" ("The View" with all minorities) and Steve Harvey. Black women have become very valuable in the TV industry because they're an audience which constantly supports programming they like. This is why Bravo, Oxygen, WETV, VH1, TV One have all invested in reality TV which prominently feature black women.