Piers Morgan is a polarizing figure and he seems pretty aware of it. On Friday, the CNN host said that he has 1.7 million Twitter followers and that "half of them hate me."
As divisive as he may be, Morgan was quite chipper when he sat down for lunch with a small group of journalists to discuss the first anniversary of his show "Piers Morgan Tonight." For everyone watching last January, the question seemed to be how Morgan would follow broadcasting legend Larry King's act.
The host is pretty confident that he's cleared the hurdle: he touted the fact that on average, his program was up in total viewers and viewers 25-54 as compared to King. Morgan also remarked, "I don't get asked about Larry King any more," explaining his belief that the show has come into its own.
Morgan hinted that the show would continue to do that, and alluded to some changes in the offing. Viewers of "Piers Morgan Tonight" can expect to see the addition of some regular segments —he mentioned Anderson Cooper's "Ridiculist" segment as an inspiration — and more of Morgan's personality, which he described as more mischievous, humorous and provocative than what they currently see.
The goal, according to Morgan, is to get "people to tune in every night for me," and make the show "less guest-dependent." He cited Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly as two models he looks to.
One piece of controversy that Morgan thinks has died down: the British phone hacking scandal. The former tabloid editor was the subject of speculation over his knowledge about phone hacking at the News of the World and the Daily Mirror, but believes that the scrutiny has largely passed since he testified at the Leveson inquiry. He speculated that "a few will be prosecuted" and that the tabloid press would reform its cozy relationship with politicians, but dismissed the rumors about him as an "unnecessary distraction."
His detractors have yet to nail him down, and there is no sign that Morgan is disappearing from screens any time soon. "[There are] only 24 years 'til I beat Larry," he said.
BEFORE YOU GO