Friday 7 January 2011

Love and loathing as US TV critics meet Morgan

Amusing piece by TV columnist Lisa de Moraes in the Washington Post on Piers Morgan meeting the US TV critics ahead of the launch of his new CNN show, which kicks off on 17 January with an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

De Moraes notes: "One brave critic noted that America has already been subjected, recently, to a one-hour prime-time sit-down with Oprah, conducted by Barbara Walters.

"Piers's is better - just ask him. His executive producer, Jonathan Wald, sensing skepticism, promised that what Oprah tells Piers about her recent interview with Walters is 'quite fascinating.' Yes, the TV news business is incestuous.

"So just how does Piers intend to save CNN from ratings oblivion here in the United States? 'CNN has to make more noise,' Piers said. 'It's up against new beasts in the jungle. To perform in that jungle, you've got to be more aggressive, louder - make more noise. '

" 'I love being polarizing. It's more fun,' he boasted. 'The idea of being some saintly figure in modern television must be unbearable. I think television should be provocative'."

Morgan adds: "Guests have a choice of a safe, easy five-minute ride [on another interview show] to plug their movie, or they can come on for an hour and joust with an annoying Brit and, if they succeed, be the toast of America."

De Moraes concludes: "Based on tweets, about half the room fell in love with him. The other half loathe him and think he's the beginning of the end for CNN."

She also jokes about TV critics: "Yes, there's a lot of self-loathing about The Reporters Who Cover Television. It comes from years of being asked condescendingly by people who cover the film industry how their small-screen brethren can sleep at night knowing they cover TV for a living."

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