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Piers Morgan CNN Show Beats Larry King Ratings by 200%

Piers Morgan
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Piers Morgan

CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight is off to a strong start. 

The show’s Monday premiere, which featured an interview with Oprah Winfrey, attracted 2.1 million viewers with 521,000 among news’ target demographic of 25-54-year-olds, according to Nielsen. That was more than 200% better than the network’s fourth quarter average in the 9 p.m. hour among both total viewers (657,000) and the demo (170,000).

However, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, the perennial cable news leader in the timeslot, bested Morgan among total viewers (2.3 million) and the demo (600,000). Hannity also had a marquis guest last night -- Sarah Palin, in her first interview since the tragedy in Tucson.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, which had been regularly beating King at 9 p.m., was third with 1.1 million total viewers and 342,000 in the demo.

Of course, it’s only night one of a show that received a hefty promotional push from CNN and Morgan himself, who introduced himself to the nation’s media reporters at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.
But Morgan has a hot guest list this week including Howard Stern, who will appear tonight (and apparently bash Jay Leno), Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday and on Thursday embattled Golden Globe host Ricky Gervais — whom Morgan will interviewed tomorrow (Wednesday).