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Larry King: Piers Morgan 'May Have Been Oversold' to American Public

Larry King and Piers Morgan
Getty Images
Larry King, left, and Piers Morgan.

The former talk show host refers to the British journalist who replaced him at CNN as "fine."

LONDON - Piers Morgan "may have been oversold" to the American public, according to Larry King, who said that Morgan should have "perhaps started softer" when launching his CNN chat show. But it was not the British host's style to "start quietly," King observed.

Speaking on Radio 4's evening news magazine show PM, King said of his decision to step down from his long-running show: "it was time to get off the train."

And he praised his successor, though admitted he had not seen many shows.

"I think he's a fine broadcaster; I haven't seen a lot, but the times I've seen they have been fine," King said.

Asked about why he thought Morgan's show had rated badly, King said it had been given too high profile a launch.

"One of the problems they did was to oversell it -- they said he was going to be dangerous, he was going to be water-cooler talk, it was 'wait till you see me, I'm different." Well, he's good -- but he's not that dangerous."

King, who is in London for the opening of Anna Nicole Smith, the Opera, which is showing at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, said he had met Morgan a number of times and had liked the pugnacious former editor of British tabloids The News of The World and The Daily Mirror.

"I like him. I've met him a few times."

"You met him and you liked him?" responded a surprised BBC presenter Eddie Mair.

"He's been very kind," insisted King. "Maybe there's one thing, he's been oversold."

Asked about the opera, written by Richard Thomas, who also wrote the libretto for Jerry Springer: The Opera, King said he thought Anna Nicole Smith was suitably operatic material.

"She fits the bill. If operas include tragedy and triumph, deep depth of despair, incredible success that was hard to understand. She was awfully likeable. I had some great times with her."