CNN execs have been putting together a list of potential Piers Morgan replacements to host a nightly 9PM-10PM talker like his, which was recently canned over low ratings.
“Rosie O’Donnell is at the top; the rest are Joy Behar, Ann Curry, Anthony Bourdain, David Muir, Star Jones, Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow,” one person with knowledge of the list tells The NY Daily News. “Most of the people that are being considered are ones that either create news, are going to make news or have rated really high on television in the past.”
A minor issue for most of the ones at other networks, such as Curry, is that they are already under contract. Curry is the National and International Correspondent/Anchor for NBC News and the Anchor at Large for the Today show.
Considering the early list, MSNBC’s Maddow is in an interesting position, having beaten Morgan in the ratings nightly, sometimes by more than 600,000 viewers. If she ever gets the job, she can gloat — Morgan dislikes her and has publicly bashed her on Twitter numerous times. In May 2013, he tweeted tauntingly, “Breaking News: Oops @maddow,” attaching an article about her then-sagging ratings.
O’Donnell is a longtime TV host and producer who could turn the slot into ratings gold. Daytime talk host Wendy Williams said on her own show Wednesday that “The View” should bring her back, noted the story, as Barbara Walters is leaving.
Bourdain already works for CNN, joining in April 2013 to host what has become the network’s most-watched program, the food-based travel show “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
Muir, who has been at ABC since 2003, is the weekend anchor of “World News” and co-anchors “20/20.”
Cooper hosts the 8 p.m. hour on CNN, but his ratings now are in the toilet.
Jones taped a pilot for a syndicated show in October and does occasional segments for NBC’s “Today.”
Meanwhile, Morgan stated he’ll still make appearances on the network: “”I’ll make a deal to do 20 to 25 shows a year, all interviews with big names. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place, not reports on snow storms and that kind of thing.”
RBR-TVBR observation: CNN Chief Jeff Zucker is trying to fix the struggling network’s lineup and ratings. He knows a big name like Rosie could potentially draw a major audience, but many have tired of her particular brand of entertainment. Perhaps, given Ronan Farrow’s quick success at MSNBC, Zucker should think out of the box and find someone new and unproven—maybe he should look to radio hosts.