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It’s been nearly two years since Piers Morgan permanently filled Larry King‘s CNN timeslot, gleefully stirring the pot — and burning bridges — with boldfaced names from Madonna to Kelsey Grammer.
“Well, he’s very different from me,” King tells HuffPost Canada. “I don’t get to watch him a lot because my kids are playing baseball at the time. It’s at 6 p.m. in LA when he’s on … He’s fine, it’s just that I left myself out of interviews. I never used to use the word ‘I.’ I didn’t give an opinion. And he’s a different kind of interviewer. He inserts himself in. He does that very well. I just — that’s not my style. So it’s commenting on his style. Personally, I like him a lot.”
Morgan, a British ex-tabloid editor, former judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and original winner of Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice, replaced Larry King Live in January 2011 to host the renamed Piers Morgan Tonight.
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Weeks after Morgan premiered on CNN, according to a new profile in Vanity Fair, King weighed in his successor in an interview with BBC Radio 4, calling Morgan “an acceptable host” and “certainly not bad” but added: “I think he may have been oversold.”
Morgan then invited King on his new show, bristling at the veteran broadcaster’s remarks, saying: “I have spent the last few months saying following you is like following Frank Sinatra. I couldn’t have paid you higher praise. You come in my backyard and say I’m an oversold, undangerous… .”
King’s response? “I’m from Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, if you say, ‘I’m dangerous,’ you’d better be dangerous.”
Since taking over King’s reigns at the cable news channel, Morgan has routinely made headlines for such attention-baiting behavior as banning Madonna from his program, prompting Grammer to walk out of his studio, and, when Hurricane Sandy ripped through the East Coast, jumping the gun by spreading news on Twitter that the New York Stock Exchange was flooded. That was later proven false.
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“There has been a slight timidity internally in not wanting to be provocative or opinionated on air because you could stray into being partisan,” he told THR in an interview this week. “If the anchor has taken a position on gun control or abortion, somehow you’re losing that neutrality. I don’t agree. I have become increasingly vocal on my show about these very issues, totally unafraid to say what I think.”
Continuing, he added: “It’s actually better television if a host says: ‘You know what I think about abortion? I think it should be down to the women.’ What I won’t say is if I’m going to vote for Obama or Romney. The beauty for me is [as a Brit], I can’t.”
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