Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan Biography(Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan (born Piers Stefan O'Meara; 30 March 1965), known professionally as Piers Morgan, is a British journalist and television host currently working in the United States. He is editorial director of First News, a national newspaper for children published in the UK, and host of Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, which he began hosting on 17 January 2011. The show replaced Larry King Live in the 9:00 pm timeslot after Larry King's retirement. He is a former judge on America's Got Talent. Morgan is also a former winner of The Celebrity Apprentice.

In the United Kingdom he worked as a writer and editor for several British tabloids, including The Sun, News of the World, and Daily Mirror, and was a judge on Britain's Got Talent. In November 2012 Morgan was criticised in the official findings of the Leveson Inquiry, when Lord Leveson stated that comments made in Morgan's testimony about phone hacking "clearly prove is that he was aware that it was taking place in the press as a whole and that he was sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behaviour that he was prepared to joke about it".

Morgan has written eight books, including three volumes of memoirs.

Early life

Piers Morgan was born on 30 March 1965, in Guildford, Surrey, England, to Eamon Vincent O'Meara, a dentist, of Dorking, Surrey, and Gabrielle Georgina Sybille (née Oliver). His father died when he was one year old and his mother subsequently remarried. He has three older siblings. Named Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan by his stepfather, Morgan attended the independent school Cumnor House 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 sixth form. Morgan studied Journalism at Harlow College. After a brief career at Lloyds of London, he joined the Surrey and South London Newspaper Group in 1985, 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, to work on the Bizarre column.


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 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' 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.

Morgan was fired as Editor of the Daily 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". 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 former 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?"

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 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. Morgan ended up the overall winner, being named Celebrity Apprentice on 27 March, ahead of fellow finalist, American country music star, Trace Adkins 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 would continue as a judge on Britain's Got Talent for at least two more series and front a new chat show. He also made 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. Any complaints on Twitter about China's animal cruelty record will not be visible in that 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 the then 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.


Ian Hislop

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 accused Morgan of having him 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 panellist 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, "You won't see them this time." The audience responded loudly in favour of Hislop. "'We're about to start exposing the moon-faced midget'", Morgan was quoted as saying in 2002, to which Hislop responded "'all he's been offering for information about my private life is a £50 reward. My friends think that's not nearly enough.'"

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 "Is 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.

Jeremy Clarkson

In October 2003, journalist and television personality Jeremy Clarkson reportedly emptied a glass of water over Morgan during the last flight of Concorde. In March 2004, at the British Press Awards, 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?.

Alan Sugar

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. Their arguments on Twitter continued for more than eighteen months.

Gun control comments petition

On 19 December 2012, soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Morgan, when interviewing Larry Pratt on his gun control views, called him a "stupid man" and "a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense" after Pratt argued that the best way to combat crime in the USA was to have more guns. This prompted a petition calling for Morgan to be deported from the country. By 24 December, the petition, posted on the White House website, had over 30,000 signatures. Morgan later said on Twitter that banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines was "common sense" not anti-constitutional. As of 8 January, the petition had gathered 107,752 signatures. A later counter-petition created by Janusz J. quickly gathered several hundred supporters. Janusz argued that Morgan should not be deported, firstly because his opinions were protected under the First Amendment, secondly because "no one in the UK wants him back", and thirdly because it would be "hilarious to see how loads of angry Americans react".

Morgan subsequently said in a column published in the British newspaper The Mail on Sunday that he would consider leaving the United States if gun laws were not changed. "If you don't change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don't have to worry about deporting me," he wrote. "Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well," Morgan continued, "I would, as a concerned parent first"and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years' time"seriously consider deporting myself."

Morgan had an interview on 7 January 2013 with the creator of the petition, radio host Alex Jones, on Morgan's show Piers Morgan Tonight. Josh Levs of CNN described it as a "fiery exchange". Two days later, in an interview on BBC's Newsnight, Morgan defended his position and said he had no regrets.

Phone hacking allegations

Morgan is alleged to have close ties with the Rupert Murdoch family and defended them in the media against suggestions that they were more involved in the News International phone hacking scandal than they claimed.

During Morgan's tenure as editor, the Daily Mirror was advised by Steven Nott that voicemail interception was possible by means of a standard PIN code. Despite staff initially expressing enthusiasm for the story it did not appear in the paper, although it did subsequently feature in a South Wales Argus article and on BBC Radio 5 Live in October 1999. On 18 July 2011 Nott was visited by officers of Operation Weeting.

On 13 July 2011 the political blogger Paul Staines alleged that Morgan published a story while knowing it to have been obtained by phone hacking while editor of the Daily Mirror in 2002.

Morgan described in a 2006 article he wrote for the Daily Mail how he had heard tapes of messages that Paul McCartney had left for his wife, Heather Mills, on her mobile phone. Morgan wrote that "Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble " at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang "We Can Work It Out" into the answerphone." He came under criticism for his "boasting" about phone hacking from Conservative MP Louise Mensch, who has since apologised for these accusations.

On 20 December 2011 Morgan was a witness by satellite link from the United States at the Leveson Inquiry. While he did "not believe to the best of my recollection" that phone hacking had occurred at the Mirror, he admitted to listening to the voice mail left by Paul McCartney for Heather Mills, but refused to "discuss where he was played that tape or who played it " it would compromise a source." Appearing as a witness at the same Inquiry on 9 February 2012, Mills was asked under oath if she had ever made a recording of Paul McCartney's phonecalls or answerphone messages and had ever played it to Piers Morgan or "anybody else", she replied: "Never". Mills told the inquiry that Morgan was "a man that has written nothing but awful things about me for years and would have relished telling the inquiry if I had played a personal voicemail message to him".

On 23 May 2012, the Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman was a witness at the Leveson Inquiry. He recalled a lunch with the Mirror editor in September 2002 at which Morgan outlined the means of hacking into a mobile phone.

On 28 November 2012 the Channel 4 documentary Taking on the Tabloids, fronted by actor and phone-hacking victim Hugh Grant, showed footage from a 2003 interview with Morgan by the singer and phone-hacking victim Charlotte Church, during which he explained to her how to avoid anwserphone messages being listened to by journalists. He said: "You can access voicemails by typing in a number. Now, are you really telling me that journalists aren"t going to do that?"

The following day (29 November 2012) the official findings of the Leveson Inquiry were released, in which Lord Leveson said Morgans testimony under oath on phone hacking was "utterly unpersuasive. This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer" and "What it does, however, clearly prove is that he was aware that it was taking place in the press as a whole and that he was sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behaviour that he was prepared to joke about it."

Personal life

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 second wife is The Daily Telegraph's columnist and feature writer, Celia Walden, who is the daughter of the former Conservative MP George Walden. Morgan and Walden married in June 2010. On 25 November 2011, the Mail Online reported that Celia Walden gave birth to a baby girl at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. It is her first child, while Morgan has become a father for the fourth time. The couple have named their daughter Elise.

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. Morgan described the 2008 game as "the best day of my life". Morgan is also a fan of Arsenal F.C.


This biography article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piers Morgan". Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions this article may contain.

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