News Veteran Jonathan Wald Named Executive Producer of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight
Former NBC, CNBC manager says he wants to redefine long-form interview shows in primetime
NEW YORK - CNN has named Jonathan Wald, former executive producer of NBC's Today and Nightly News shows, as well as former senior vp of CNBC, to the post of executive producer of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, which is now the official name of the new talk show that will replace Larry King Live and debut in January.
CNN executive vp Ken Jautz made the announcement Monday.
“Jonathan has spent more than 20 years as a top producer in broadcast and cable television news and has the unique ability to produce television that is smart and provocative,” said Jautz.
Said Wald: "CNN is an important news organization and a powerful worldwide brand...I can’t wait to get started and to collaborate with Piers on redefining the long-form interview program in primetime."
Morgan said he is looking forward to working with Wald. "Jonathan is tough, funny, smart as hell, incredibly experienced and wants to win," he said.
In a telephone interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wald said the show wants to put the most topical and interesting interview partners on the air and engage audiences through Morgan's personality. "Piers wants to get to the heart of things and ask people what everybody wants to know," he said. "It will be political, but non-partisan. And it will all be about the [right] mix" of topics and guests.
Asked about how he will measure success, Wald said the best and most topical guests will be key. Asked what role ratings play and his expectations for them, he said: "Everybody wants a hit."
Wald said he has known Morgan for about a year and a half through mutual friends and had talked to him about various ideas in the past. But when Morgan was named as successor of Larry King, Wald said the two began talking about ideas for the show, which led to his appointment as showrunner.
"We love what Larry has been doing," Wald said when asked about his take on King's show. "He has made the show appointment TV. We want to make [our show] mandatory."