- Category : TV Presenter
- Type : MS
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (23)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 1
Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan (born Piers Stefan O'Meara; 30 March 1965), known professionally as Piers Morgan, is a British journalist and television presenter. He is editorial director of First News, a national newspaper for children.
Morgan branched into television mainly as a presenter, but has become best known as a judge or contestant in reality television programmes. In the UK, he was a judge on Britain's Got Talent. Morgan is best-known in the United States as a judge on the show America's Got Talent, and as the winner of The Celebrity Apprentice. On 17 January 2011, he began hosting Piers Morgan Tonight for CNN in the timeslot previously occupied by Larry King Live before the retirement of host Larry King.
Morgan has authored eight books including three volumes of his memoirs.
Piers Morgan was born in 1965 to Vincent and Gabrielle O'Meara. His father died when he was one year old; his mother subsequently remarried. He has three older siblings. Morgan was raised Catholic. Named Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan by his stepfather, Morgan attended an independent school from the ages of seven to thirteen, and then Chailey School, a comprehensive secondary school in Chailey, near Lewes, East Sussex, followed by Lewes Priory School for VI form. Morgan studied Journalism at Harlow College. After a brief career at Lloyds of London, he joined the Surrey and South London Newspaper Group, where he worked as a reporter on the South London News, and the Streatham and Tooting News. Morgan was recruited (he says headhunted by editor Kelvin MacKenzie) to join The Sun newspaper, specifically to work on the Bizarre column.
Morgan married Marion Shalloe in July 1991 in Hampshire. They have three sons: Spencer William (born in 1993), Stanley Christopher (born in 1997) and Albert Douglas (Bertie) (born in 2000). Morgan and Shalloe divorced in 2008. He was linked romantically to The Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, and his current wife is The Daily Telegraph's columnist and features writer, Celia Walden, who is the daughter of the former Conservative MP George Walden.
Morgan is a lifelong fan of cricket. Corresponding with Sir Donald "Don" Bradman as a child, and being a promising early youthful fast bowler, he has played for his local side in Newick since 1978. Every year since 2000 he has organised a game between a Morgan family team and the Newick side, which includes a famous "ringer" - 2008's ringer was England batsman Kevin Pietersen, which Morgan described as "the best day of my life." Morgan is also a fan of Arsenal F.C..
Career in newspapers
Morgan's first major position in national media was as de facto editor of The Sun's show business column, 'Bizarre', under the editorship of Kelvin MacKenzie. In 1994, aged 28, he was appointed editor of the News of the World by Rupert Murdoch, becoming the youngest national newspaper editor in more than half a century. He quickly gained notoriety for his invasive, thrusting style and lack of concern for celebrities' right to privacy, claiming that they could not manipulate the media to further their own ends without accepting the consequences of a two way deal. Morgan's autobiography The Insider states that he left the News of the World of his own choice and somewhat against owner Rupert Murdoch's wishes when he was offered the job of Editor at the Daily Mirror.
As editor of the Mirror, in 1996 Morgan was widely criticised and forced to apologise for the headline "Achtung! Surrender" a day before England met Germany in a semi-final of the Euro '96 football championships.
In 2000, he was the subject of an investigation after Suzy Jagger wrote a story in The Daily Telegraph revealing that he had bought £20,000 worth of shares in the computer company Viglen soon before the Mirror 's 'City Slickers' column tipped Viglen as a good buy. Morgan was found by the Press Complaints Commission to have breached the Code of Conduct on financial journalism, but kept his job. The 'City Slickers' columnists, Anil Bhoyrul and James Hipwell, were both found to have committed further breaches of the Code, and were sacked before the inquiry. In 2004, further enquiry by the Department of Trade and Industry cleared Morgan from any charges. On 7 December 2005 Bhoyrul and Hipwell were convicted of conspiracy to breach the Financial Services Act. During the trial it emerged that Morgan had bought £67,000 worth of Viglen shares, emptying his bank account and investing under his wife's name too.
In 2002, the Mirror attempted to move mid-market, claiming to eschew the more trivial stories of show-business and gossip. Morgan rehired John Pilger, who had been sacked during Robert Maxwell's ownership of the Mirror titles. Despite such changes, Morgan was unable to halt the paper's decline in circulation, a decline shared by its direct tabloid rivals The Sun and the Daily Star.
Morgan was fired from the Mirror on 14 May 2004 after authorising the newspaper's publication of photographs allegedly showing Iraqi prisoners being abused by British Army soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment. Within days the photographs were shown to be crude fakes. Under the headline "SORRY.. WE WERE HOAXED", the Mirror responded that it had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" and apologised for the publication of the photographs.
In May 2005, in partnership with Matthew Freud, he gained ownership of Press Gazette, a media trade publication together with its 'cash cow' the British Press Awards, in a deal worth £1 million. This ownership was cited as one of the reasons many major newspapers boycotted the 2006 awards. Press Gazette entered administrative receivership toward the end of 2006, before being sold to a trade buyer.
On 4 May 2006, Morgan launched First News, a weekly paper aimed at seven to fourteen-year-olds. Upon its launch Morgan claimed that the paper was to be "Britain's first national newspaper for children", although this claim was without foundation: other newspapers aimed at young audiences have included The Boy's Newspaper (1880–1882), The Children's Newspaper (1919–1965), and Early Times (launched in the late 1980s). Morgan was editorial director at First News, responsible for bringing in celebrity involvement. He referred to the role as "editorial overlord and frontman".
In 2007, Morgan was filmed falling off a Segway, breaking three ribs. Simon Cowell and others made much of Morgan's previous comment in 2003, in the Daily Mail, after U.S. President George W. Bush fell off a Segway, that "You'd have to be an idiot to fall off, wouldn't you, Mr. President?"
Career in television
Morgan's career has diversified in recent years into television presentation and proprietorship. In 2003, he presented a three-part television documentary series for the BBC titled The Importance of Being Famous, about fame and the manner in which celebrities are covered by modern media.
He has co-hosted his own current affairs interview show on Channel 4 with Amanda Platell, Morgan and Platell. Morgan and Platell were put together because of their opposing political angles. Platell would interrogate guests from the right-wing, Morgan from the left-wing. The show was dropped after three series allegedly because of poor viewing figures, though the chairman of Channel 4, Luke Johnson, was reported not to like the programme.
Throughout 2006 Morgan appeared as a judge on the American television show America's Got Talent alongside Brandy Norwood and David Hasselhoff on NBC. Morgan was chosen by Simon Cowell as a replacement for himself because of the conditions of his American Idol contract. Morgan appeared as a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice in 2007, to raise money for Comic Relief. During filming, he and Alastair Campbell reduced fellow contestant Trinny Woodall to tears when they tried to sabotage her team's event, and were involved in a brawl with her. Upon his team losing, Morgan was selected by Sir Alan Sugar as the contestant to be fired.
Also in 2007, he appeared as a judge for the second season of America's Got Talent and also appeared as a judge on the British version of the show, Britain's Got Talent on ITV1, alongside Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell. He also presented You Can't Fire Me, I'm Famous on BBC One. In January 2008, Morgan fronted a three-part documentary about Sandbanks for ITV1 entitled Piers Morgan on Sandbanks.
Morgan was the winner of the U.S. celebrity version of The Apprentice, in 2008. The most memorable feature of the programme was the rowdy disagreements he had with fellow contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. This was resolved in Morgan's favour on 6 March, after her team was defeated by Morgan's in the biggest margin of victory in Apprentice history. Morgan ended up the overall winner, being named Celebrity Apprentice on 27 March, ahead of fellow finalist, American country music star, Trace Adkins (whom he surprised by kissing him on the cheek just moments after an on-air spat with Stallworth) and having raised substantially more cash than all the other contestants combined.
In May 2008, Morgan signed a two year "golden handcuffs" deal with ITV reportedly worth £2 million per year. As part of the deal, Morgan will continue as a judge on Britain's Got Talent for at least two more series and front a new chat show. He will also make some interview specials, plus three more documentaries from various countries. Morgan's golden handcuffs deal is the first signing by ITV's new director of television, Peter Fincham.
On 8 September 2008, a new series started, The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan, produced by BBC Scotland.
Morgan returned to ITV1 in February 2009, with the series, Piers Morgan On..., which saw him visit Dubai, Monte Carlo and Hollywood. The series positioned Morgan as a modern day Alan Whicker and received strong viewing figures for the channel. The programme returned for a second series in 2010 when Morgan visited Las Vegas, Marbella, and Shanghai. In the Shanghai episode, broadcast on 29 June 2010, Morgan consumed foie gras in a restaurant and visited a Tesco store selling live terrapins. Since both foie gras production and live reptile sales are considered cruel, Morgan came under criticism on social networking sites, including Twitter. Ironically, any complaints on Twitter about China's animal cruelty record will not be visible in the communist country, since Twitter itself is banned there, as Morgan pointed out in the same programme.
In 2009 Morgan's show, Piers Morgan's Life Stories, began on ITV1 with Sharon Osbourne as the subject of the first episode. Other guests on the programme have included Cheryl Tweedy and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
On 8 September 2010, CNN announced Morgan would replace Larry King in the network's evening line-up, with his show Piers Morgan Tonight, beginning 17 January 2011.
In December 2010, Morgan announced to the Daily Express that he will not be scheduling Madonna to appear on Piers Morgan Tonight. Morgan reportedly told the British newspaper that, while he wanted to get U.S. President Barack Obama and Mel Gibson on his show, he wasn’t bothered about Madonna. Morgan said, "She is so boring. She is too vegan for TV. We have Lady Gaga now so Madonna is banned from my show.” In response, Madonna's publicist quipped, "Madonna doesn't know who Piers Morgan is but she's a big fan of Lady Gaga."
Morgan appeared as a guest on the satirical news quiz Have I Got News for You in an episode transmitted on 24 May 1996. In it, show regular Ian Hislop and Morgan failed to keep their mutual contempt off-screen. Hislop accused Morgan of having him (Hislop) followed and having his house watched. The conflict escalated and at one point the host, Angus Deayton, asked if they wished to go outside and have a fight. Later on, guest panelist Clive Anderson confronted Morgan commenting "the last time I was rude to you, you sent photographers to my doorstep the next day", to which Piers Morgan retorted "ou won't see them this time." Hislop commented "e is charming isn't he", and Morgan replied, "Don't try the popularity line with me, Hislop", before appealing to the audience: "Does anyone actually like him?". The audience responded loudly in favour of Hislop.
In 2007, Hislop chose Morgan as one of his pet hates on Room 101. In doing so, Hislop spoke of the history of animosity between himself and Morgan and revealed that after their exchange on Have I Got News For You (which was shown as a clip), Morgan's reporters were tasked with trying to get gossip on Hislop's private life (including phoning acquaintances of Hislop), and photographers were sent in case Hislop did anything untoward or embarrassing while in their presence. Neither the reporters nor the photographers succeeded. Hislop also revealed that Morgan had attempted to quell the feud in an article in The Mail On Sunday, saying, "The war is over. I'm officially calling an end to hostilities, at least from my end. I'm sure it won't stop him carrying on his 'Piers Moron' stuff." Hislop, who had been engaged in work on a First World War documentary at the time, responded by asking "s that an armistice or an unconditional surrender?" Although the show's host Paul Merton agreed to put Morgan into Room 101, he was comically rejected as being "too toxic", even for Room 101.
In March 2004, at the British Press Awards, journalist and television personality Jeremy Clarkson punched Morgan three times in a clash over The Mirror's coverage of his private life, and accusations that Clarkson did not write for his column in The Sun himself. Morgan reported on a rapprochement with Clarkson in the epilogue of his book, Don't You Know Who I Am?.
In December 2010 Morgan had an ongoing Twitter argument with Alan Sugar, which resulted in a competition to see who could attract more followers by Christmas Day.
In April 2011 Morgan got into a Twitter argument with Rio Ferdinand. It started with his reply that he "was ready to take him down" in reply to Rio Ferdinand's tweet that Gary Neville could soon join Twitter to "rant and give his opinion on all things man utd". Morgan soon turned to mocking Rio about a "twitter movement" Rio started and about Rio being injured most of the time. Ultimately both urged their followers to get certain hashtags (aimed at each other) trending on Twitter. The hashtag Rio suggested became a trending topic in the UK in about thirty minutes. The give and take continued in the coming week. Rio claimed in a tweet that a Twitter representative called him to stop "cyber bullying" on Piers.
In April 2011 Morgan got into Twitter argument with another Manchester United player, right after United won a championship match against Everton. Morgan tweeted Michael Owen telling him that he should retire from football, since he is sitting on the bench most of the time. Owen answered him by saying that he would rather only play 25 minutes for a club like United, than playing 90 minutes for a "struggling team", probably referring to Arsenal, Morgan's favorite football team. Morgan then said that Owen couldn't even get on Arsenal's bench and continued with another tweet saying that he probably couldn't even be on the bench of Bolton Wanderers. Owen decided not to continue the beef with Morgan and said on Twitter that he is enjoying a barbecue with his family. Instead, Morgan replied that tweet by saying that he hopes Owen will "choke with charcoaled sausage."
Morgan has attracted criticism particularly for his TV work, with claims he is "smarmy", "arrogant", "self-satisfied" and "too full of himself". His show on CNN, "Piers Morgan Tonight", has been described by one critic as "droning", "unnecessary" and "rubbish".