Shock jock Stern gives Piers Morgan a hard time
Conquering England is easy, says Howard Stern on Morgan's new CNN show. America is something else...
Piers Morgan struggled to grasp control of his own TV show last night when his celebrity interviewee, shock jock Howard Stern, questioned whether the Englishman would succeed in his new job at CNN.
"I want to congratulate you on unseating a 95-year-old man," said Stern, referring to Larry King, whose retirement led to Morgan's appointment as the channel's number one interviewer.
"I like you," Stern went on. "I like you on America's Got Talent. I think you're a terrific judge and I think you're a nice man.
"But who the hell knows what you're gonna do on here? They tell me you're a journalist."
Morgan, looking peeved, shot back: "I was a journalist for 25 years." (He didn't mention that his newspaper career came to end when he was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 after publishing fake photos of British soldiers supposedly abusing Iraqi prisoners.)
"Okay," Stern went on, "but the people of America don't know that. What is your background? Tell the world."
Morgan, trying to get the interview back on track, protested: "This is my show, I'm doing the interview. It's not your show."
But Stern refused to be silenced: "As I said to your people in there - i.e. backstage - Piers was in England. To be successful in England is very nice. But England is about the size of Philadelphia. To conquer England takes about two days. America is something else."
It was only Morgan's second night in the CNN hot seat and he was still getting over the reviews for his debut interview with Oprah Winfrey.
One or two critics were polite - the Philadelphia Inquirer called him "high-energy, enthusiastic, effusive, playful, fascinated" - but many questioned his style.
The Boston Globe said he was "by turns charming, vain, well informed, and fawning - but mostly just fawning". The Washington Post called the encounter with Winfrey "a fawning and completely unnecessary interview". ·
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