CNN host Piers Morgan, the former British tabloid editor turned primetime successor to Larry King, will leave his show according to reports in the New York Times and POLITICO.
Morgan has languished in the ratings, but achieved notoriety for his gun control advocacy in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Morgan’s show registered as few as 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 year-old demographic earlier this week, POLITICO noted.
Allison Gollust, head of CNN communications, told POLITICO on Sunday that the date of the final program is still to be determined.
Morgan frankly conceded that the ratings for his show made the end inevitable, in a conversation with the Times’ media critic, David Carr. “It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said, adding that although there had been times when the show connected in terms of audience, slow news days were problematic.
“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”
At one point during the gun debate, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones started a petition to deport Morgan after he called for more restrictive gun laws. The petition quickly gained more than enough signatures required for an official White House response, prompting an official response.
“Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First,” White House spokesman Jay Carney wrote. “President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy.”
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