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CONNECT THE WORLD
Interview with Piers Morgan
Aired June 10, 2010 - 16:49:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST (voice-over): Whether he's got talent depends on who you ask. But one thing is certain, Piers Morgan knows how to get attention. The former tabloid editor turned television star is now one of the most recognized media faces in Britain.
And last year, he got the world's attention as a judge on the hit TV show, "Britain's Got Talent" and he became a personal favorite of surprise superstar, Susan Boyle.
ANDERSON: He has been across the pond and taken on the show's counterpart, "America's Got Talent." Prior to television, Morgan did stints in various London papers, eventually becoming editor of "The Daily Mirror." But in 2004, he was forced to resign when forged pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse were published.
Today, he boasts eight books and his own children's newspaper, entitled, "First News".
From telling the story to being the story, Piers Morgan is your Connector of the Day.
ANDERSON: I sat down with Piers just about an hour or so ago in London.
And I started by asking him how he came up with the idea for the newspaper that he's started for kids.
This is what he said.
PIERS MORGAN, "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT" JUDGE:
Today we're launching the TV version of "First News," which is a children's newspaper in the U.K. that we set up four years ago. And the idea behind it was that kids these days, they spend all their time on the PlayStations and laptops and all they don't do is read. They don't read books. They don't read newspapers. They don't even really read magazines.
So the concept behind "First News" was to try and reengage young people into the art of reading and to find out about world events and U.K. events in a way that they can find entertaining, informative and educational.
ANDERSON: What do you think the future of the consumption of news, not just the kids, but for all of us, is with this new digital age?
MORGAN: Well, the relative -- and as a former newspaper editor, I'm obviously very concerned about what's happening to print journalists. I mean only today, at "The Daily Mirror," where I used to work, has laid off a lot of staff -- or is going to.
But the future of news is, I think, very positive. What the newspapers have to do around the world is embrace the new technology in a way they're not doing very successfully. And I think they have to really listen to young people. That's why I find what we're doing very exciting, because it will be young people who will determine, in the next 10 or 15 years, how they assimilate their news.
Now, I want them to do it through First News TV. Because I think if we can make them energized and excited by what they watch on our they've station, they're going to buy the newspaper and they're going to actually prolong their interest in news.
ANDERSON: We have some viewer questions for you. Julia has written to us. She says: "What's more fun, being a newspaper editor or being involved in TV?"
MORGAN: Well, they were both great fun. In my -- when I was young, my ambition was to edit a newspaper. And I ended up being the youngest editor ever fired, which I thought was quite an accolade. So I was pitched into the big, bad world at age short of 39, thinking, God, now what?
And -- and then I ended up, thanks to Simon Cowell, really, going to television in a big way. And it's very exciting television, but nothing, to me, will ever quite match the thrill of a big breaking news story in a newsroom. That's the one thing I still miss.
ANDERSON: Alastair asks: "How well do you really get on with Simon Cowell?"
MORGAN: Well, he's unbearable. He has a terribly large ego, which obviously I find extremely unsettling, being such a modest type myself. No, we're very -- we're very good friends, but we're also very competitive. We're the kind of people that we will literally -- if you see two ants going down a windowpane, we will have a bet on which ant reaches the end first. And we'll actually name them after ourselves. It is pathetic.
ANDERSON: Have you got an invite to his wedding, by the way?
MORGAN: What wedding?
ANDERSON: Isn't he getting married?
MORGAN: Not as far as he's said.
MORGAN: He's got one to mine.
ANDERSON: When are you getting married?
MORGAN: I can't tell you.
ANDERSON: All right.
MORGAN: Sorry, not even CNN. Sorry.
ANDERSON: You had what can only be described as a close encounter in Tuesday's "America's Got Talent" with Erin Go Braless.
Were you laughing at her or laughing with her?
MORGAN: Oh, we thought she was fantastic. I love women like that. I'm quite partial to the slightly larger lady. So when she came flying toward me, the world's greatest cleavage wobbling for America, I was like, great. It beats a wet Wednesday in Dallas, I can tell you.
ANDERSON: Heather has written from Johannesburg. She says -- she wants to ask about both of your talent shows and says: "Are you ever surprised at some of the winners of the competitions? And do you usually agree with the public's choice?"
MORGAN: The public actually have an unnerving ability to get it right. I mean certainly "Britain's Got Talent" last weekend, you know, we had this amazing gymnastic act with Spellbound, who were the most talented act in the competition, no question.
ANDERSON: Were they really?
MORGAN: Oh, no question.
MORGAN: And in terms of dedication, ability, danger, excitement, they were absolutely one of the best acts I've seen. And in America, it follows a familiar pattern. We had a guy called Terry Fator in America who won the show. He's a ventriloquist. He is now a $100 million act in Las Vegas. He's bigger than Susan Boyle.
ANDERSON: What do you say to those who say that your shows are exploitative?
MORGAN: Don't watch it. I mean, seriously. If people think it's exploitative, they don't understand the concept of the show. We're not trying to ridicule people. We're trying to find great stars and have some fun along the way in a good old-fashioned variety, end of the peer kind of way, where anyone can turn up, any age, any talent and they all think they're the next great thing.
And my job as a judge is to maybe reconcile some of them with the reality that maybe they're not the next Frank Sinatra.
ANDERSON: Susan Boyle. Tell me about her.
MORGAN: Susan Boyle is one of my favorite women. She is a slightly eccentric, fabulously talented lady from Scotland who, until she appeared on "Britain's Got Talent," imagined she would never break out of her little village.
ANDERSON: Does she have a future?
MORGAN: Oh, when you think does she have a future, she sold 12-and-a- half million albums. She's already had her future.
Everything now is icing on the cake, isn't it?
She's having the time of her life. And sometimes she gets tired and the media will go, "Susan Collapses." And then she'll ring me laughing and saying, "I was just tired. Can't a woman get tired?"
And I'll say, "Just sing it for me one more time." And she says, "I dreamed a dream of -- "
Everything seems fine again.
ANDERSON: Piers, you love your football. It's less than 24 hours to go.
Who's going to win?
MORGAN: My -- my heart says England, obviously. My head says Brazil. And they're going to meet Spain in the final, I'm afraid.
All right. I grew up with football when football was football. It's now big bucks entertainment.
Does that bother you?
It bothers me.
MORGAN: Well, it's kind of dispiriting. I mean I follow Arsenault. And certainly the ticket pricing at the Emirates Stadium is the most expensive in the country, I think. And it certainly prices out a lot of traditional working class fans who just can't afford to pay 40 pounds for a ticket. I mean if you take your kids, like I do -- I have three sons -- if you take them to a game, you buy them a program, buy them a meat pie for lunch, it used to be that you'd spend five pounds. Now you're spending over 100 pounds.
ANDERSON: Where would you rather live going forward, the U.S. or the U.K.?
MORGAN: Well, I love America and I love Britain. But I'm a Brit at heart. You know, I think I -- if I -- where am I going to die?
I hope my ashes are scattered over a country field in East Sussex, probably rather than L.A. or Malibu Beach in between Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton...
MORGAN: -- (INAUDIBLE) make it. Exactly. So I think given that choice, it will be a country field in East Sussex.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Piers Morgan is your Connector of the Day.
You can find that interview online, of course, at CNN.com/connect post this show.
Tomorrow, in honor of World Cup kickoff day (INAUDIBLE) to the day, the controversial footballer, David Ginola. He was ostracized in France after his performance during the World Cup qualifying round in 1994 and he has plenty to say about his former team's chances this year. He'll be answering your questions, so head to the site, CNN.com/connect. Do remember to tell us where you are writing back.
David Ginola is your Connector of the Day tomorrow.