In CNN Debut, Piers Morgan Fawning, So-So

A kinder, gentler Piers takes center stage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2011 3:46 AM CST

The obnoxious Piers Morgan familiar to reality show fans was nowhere to be seen as Piers Morgan Tonight made its debut in Larry King's old time slot on CNN, say critics. Morgan was fawning and deferential during his highly publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey. Some early reaction:

  • "Morgan's nerves showed in his voice, his eyes and his desperation to have physical contact with his guest," writes Chris Matyszczyk at CBS, who predicts the real test for the host will come later this week, with guests including Ricky Gervais and Howard Stern.

  • Oprah did surrender some details about her life story, but she was allowed to set the tone of the interview, which became largely a plug for her own network, Brian Lowry writes at Variety. As for his interviewing skills, which Oprah described as "surprising?" Quips Lowry, "'Boring' would be more accurate."
  • "His giggling style might have come across as charming ... in an interview with someone less intimidating," writes Chris Rovzar for New York. "Here it made him seem sycophantic and almost childish. When he reached out to her and said, 'Everything you touch turns to gold. Could you touch me?' I almost turned off the television."
  • Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly writes that, "In general, Winfrey was probably as open as she’s ever been with an interviewer, which is to say, not much." But despite the softball interview, Tucker believes Morgan has already shown himself to be a more than worthy successor to King. "Simply by having facts about his subject at hand and speaking coherently, Morgan aced King on his opening night," he writes.
(Click to find out who didn't wish Morgan success.)

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