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TV Review: CNN's 'Piers Morgan Tonight'

CNN’s new prime time talk show Piers Morgan Tonight premiered Monday, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C:

“Mr. Morgan’s pre-taped interview with Ms Winfrey was a far more predictable conversation than the scantily prepared, somewhat unmoored give-and-take viewers were used to on Mr. King’s live show….Morgan, who seems so bold and confident as a judge on “America’s Got Talent,” was probably too timid.” - Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times

“As an interviewer, Morgan was cheeky, flirtatious, flattering and playful, sometimes dryly teasing, sometimes fawning, occasionally cleverly probing. As a host? The first night of PMT didn’t give us much to go on.” - James Poniewozik, Time

“The end result wasn’t so much an interview as a chat, which fell flatter than people might have expected. It did, for all the world, seem like two self-important rich people talking to each other. And that made it no different than Oprah talking to her celebrity friends on her show or Barbara Walters talking to Oprah.” - Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“Piers’s mistake [was] having Oprah on for his very first episode. He doesn’t yet know how much he’s worth in this new chair at CNN. But Oprah knows exactly how much she’s worth, and it’s definitely more than this untested - if bright and charming - British import. The gap in confidence, even muffled as it was by flowers and soft lighting, was glaring.” - Chris Rovzar, New York Magazine

“After all that buildup, Morgan’s first show turned out to be a fawning and completely unnecessary interview with a successful businesswoman named Oprah Winfrey…If we had all the time in the world to wait for Morgan to find his niche, then there would be no problem. But as we all know, cable news shows get mere nanoseconds to turn us on.” - Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

“As for whether the “new boy” is a worthy replacement for Larry King… come on, you didn’t watch Larry King Live, did you? Simply by having facts about his subject at hand and speaking coherently, Morgan aced King on his opening night.” Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

“Known for asking tough questions and being the cranky “America’s Got Talent” judge, Morgan was indeed surprising — surprisingly soft…Rather than introducing himself to his CNN audience with fists clenched, Morgan chose to prove he could be a gentleman and a little vulnerable and playful, too.”   Matthew Gilbert,