Jan 18, 2011

Piers Morgan's CNN talkshow debut gets cool reception from US critics (Part III)

Piers Morgan tweeted this review himself:

Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)
just when my self-adoration was leaping to new heights, the @Guardian lentil-munchers ride to the cynical rescue - http://bit.ly/e3RVSc

Former Mirror editor accused of being 'soft' and 'fawning' after interview with first guest Oprah Winfrey

Piers Morgan makes CNN debut with Oprah Winfrey interview Link to this video

"How have I done?" Piers Morgan asked yesterday at the end of his debut as Larry King's replacement as CNN's primetime chatshow host.
"You have been surprising," his first guest, Oprah Winfrey, diplomatically replied.
But many of America's catty TV reviewers were much harsher on the former Mirror editor. The best that can be said for the reviews of Morgan's opening night was that they were mixed.
There was the odd glowing verdict. The Philadelphia Inquirer said Morgan was "high-energy, enthusiastic, effusive, playful, fascinated" and Entertainment Weekly said "Morgan aced King on his opening night".
And there was some grudging praise from the Guardian's Hadley Freeman. Like many reviewers she noted Morgan's "subservience" towards Winfrey in contrast to his caustic attitude to contestants on America's Got Talent. She concluded: "Whether Morgan's chummy interviews will rescue CNN remains to be seen. But he's probably the most interesting thing on that channel. And knowing Morgan, he'll take that as a compliment."
But others found Morgan's style, and his eagerness to laugh at Winfrey's jokes, hard to take. The Boston Globe said he was "surprisingly soft". Its TV critic, Matthew Gilbert, found little evidence that Piers Morgan Tonight would be anything other than another "blah-blah-blah talkshow".
He said the new host was by turns "charming, vain, well-informed and fawning – but mostly just fawning".
Mark Dawidziak, for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, said the chat was "subdued, cosy and cautious". He conceded that Morgan was "good", but said he was "hardly great".
Morgan was "often obsequious", according to Eric Deggans in the St Petersburg Times. But he conceded that it was too early to tell if Morgan would succeed: "Can the guy who insults mediocre performers on America's Got Talent actually hold his own with the biggest celebrity interview CNN can muster? The answer, judging by his sitdown with Winfrey on Monday, is a decided maybe."
Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman wasn't all that impressed either. He wrote: "The end result wasn't so much an interview as a chat, which fell flatter than people might have expected. It did, for all the world, seem like two self-important rich people talking to each other. And that made it no different than Oprah talking to her celebrity friends on her show or Barbara Walters talking to Oprah."
Dylan Stableford for the Wrap conjured up an unfortunate image. He said Morgan was "fellating Oprah's outsized ego" .
Not even the notoriously cosy King would go that far, he said. Stableford wrote: "For all his talent – and hype as a master interviewer across the pond – Morgan managed to toss more softballs at Oprah Winfrey in an hour than even his time-slot predecessor might have."

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