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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Interview with Billy Ray Cyrus; Pope's Surprising New Attitude Toward Gays, Abortion; Interview with Bob Newhart

Aired September 19, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, Billy Ray Cyrus. You may think you know him. Country superstar, celebrity dad, of course, but what you don't know is that Billy Ray Cyrus is a man of strong opinions, and tonight, he's bringing it all to my table. Daughter Miley, that little controversy, America, Syria, guns, just about everything. Plus, the pope's surprising new attitude on gays and abortion. Also, he starred in not one but two classic sitcoms, and what may have been the greatest series finale ever. So what does Bob Newhart, who just won his very first Emmy at the age of 84, what he tells me tonight exclusively. I want to begin though with our Big Story and it's a big interview. Billy Ray Cyrus, probably the famous father on planet earth right now, Billy Ray how are you?

BILLY RAY CYRUS, SINGER, SONGWRITER: I'm doing great, I just met Bob Newhart at the back.

MORGAN: Are you speaking with excitement about this?

CYRUS: Well, I'm telling you, starstruck. He's such a great actor. He's entertained our families for years and he's as beautiful and wonderful and person as he is on TV. It was just real honor to probably the closest I'll ever come to an Emmy, I held his one with it. So it was great.

MORGAN: Well, we'll be going -- coming next of the show, I've never Bob Newhart. I'm as excited as you are. He is a true American television legend. It's great that you guys met at the back. Right, Billy Ray Cyrus.

So, I have for the last three weeks being informing America that I love what Miley did. And I've also being explaining how I've been twerking in the Caribbean for at least 30 years, nothing new to people on the cutting edge of this art form. But everyone has been asking, what does Billy Ray think? You're her father, right. So what is your view of this huge Miley controversy?

CYRUS: I'm a singer, songwriter, you know, first and foremost, you know. And I'm her daddy. I come from that school of as a singer, songwriter, as a musician that it starts with a song. And it's that magic moment when a song finds the right artist, the right singer. And it becomes a synchronicity of that moment in time. Well, Miley harnessed into something very special that she's just Miley, she's an artist, she's real. I think that what's happened over the years, Miley has been reinventing her sound. She is evolving as an artist herself. I think that it's all of what everyone is calling controversy now. That's still my Miley, look that's still ...

MORGAN: Did you know what she was going to do at the awards?

CYRUS: I knew that she wanted to do something really special and something that everybody was going to be talking about. I knew that she had put in a great deal of practice and thought into what was going to happen in New York. Again, it became that moment of a singer, songwriter, entertainer finding that special moment. And again, sometimes controversy lies in that special moment. I've never known any great artist that was lukewarm and the fans were just in the middle on it. You either love it or you hated it.

MORGAN: This is what I've been say, when you look at Madonna or Rihanna or Britney Spears or even Beyonce, go back to the Elvis, Beatles, Stones. The thing they all had was they did stuff that was pushing the boundaries. And Miley is not Hannah Montana anymore, she's a 20-year-old woman who wants to express herself as an artist and I get that. But you also know, a lot of people have hated what she did. They think it's outrageous, they wanted to stay little sweet Hannah Montana. What do you say to those people who perhaps were huge fans of Hannah Montana and feel uncomfortable about the directions she's taking?

CYRUS: Well that's what music is supposed to do is make you feel, you know, that's what music is supposed to do. And you can either love it or hate it, that's everyone's right to do so because it's art. Miley again, you know, I think that she could have went out and sang the song in a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans. And it would have still been just as strong would we have been here talking about right it now, no way.

MORGAN: It wouldn't have the same effect.

CYRUS: No, no, we wouldn't have been talking about.

MORGAN: What she did I think, is she married a great song with a brilliant marketing camp.

CYRUS: Exactly.

MORGAN: I want to play a clip, this is from a new documentary she's made which hasn't been released yet, but as the moment in which she talks about the build up to what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILEY CYRUS: You're always going to make people talk. Your eyes will make them talk for like two weeks rather than two seconds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: See I love that ...

CYRUS: Wow. MORGAN: ... because what that shows is somebody who has really thought this through. She didn't want to make just a small impact. She wanted to make a global impact which lasted several weeks and boy did she do that. Now, right now today, Miley Cyrus number one in America and number one in pretty much every country in the Western world, job done from a pot -- a marketing point of view.

CYRUS: Well, you know, Miley is a very, very smart young lady. And reinventing her stuff, you know, it's that intangible you either find it or you don't. And it some times it takes that evolution as my buddy Carl Perkins said, you know, finding your sound, that's the intangible, that's the part that you can't buy. You either find it and you have it or you don't. Miley has been around a lot of the greats like Dolly who have went through that continual process of reinvention. Miley is smart enough to know that to come out of the shadows of Hannah Montana. It really takes something extremely drastic which when you go to that level, it creates passion and passion is either love or hate ...

MORGAN: Does she ...

CYRUS: ... but there's no middle of the road for passion.

MORGAN: Does she have any regrets about it or is she loving every second of the mayhem this caused?

CYRUS: She has been so busy, like I mean every single night she's in the studio. She is writing, she is creating, she is rehearsing for this big show ...

MORGAN: (Inaudible) being with the family.

CYRUS: She has been so great.

MORGAN: But Ray, she's probably watching tonight so we should really, Miley, if you're watching keep it going. But what's in the video that for Wrecking Ball, I mean, let me ask you as a dad, I'm a dad, just how did the little baby go, she's nearly two years old. So I'm going to go through all of this when she is in her teens and stuff.

And I don't know how comfortable I will feel if I see my girl suddenly turning into a twerker. What is it like for the dad in you? Not the artist, but the dad Billy Ray to watch his girl on stage not wearing many clothes doing the twerking and then the Wrecking Ball and so on.

CYRUS: Piers let me warn you, it gets even stranger when that little girl becomes a young lady.

MORGAN: Right.

CYRUS: And then you go on Twitter and you see where people have put her on top of your head. And I've seen the craziest things again just looking at her and I get a laugh out of it too. I have seen some crazy stuff Twitter I think has just been -- it's the universal language. I mean you stay in touch again with the love and the hate but that's people's emotion ...

MORGAN: Does any of it make you feel uncomfortable thought as a dad or not?

CYRUS: As a dad?

MORGAN: Yeah.

CYRUS: I'm not really because I'm not ...

MORGAN: Well I'm curious. I'm watching it myself like you did I think this is brilliant. But I'm thinking, if I was Billy Ray and I've got the pleasure of getting to know you pretty well. I just wander what the dad in you feels whether you can celebrate the glory of the pop moment, but also be a little bit like, "Miley, my girl is growing up."

CYRUS: There she is, that's very accurate there and then, you know, for me to think how hard she's work to get to this point and what a risk just the fact that she went and cut her hair off, that was huge, she could've stayed Hanna Montana forever and made a great living doing that. But she is more of an artist than that and she wanted to evolve and she had to take her time, let that evolution take place.

And again, she is very, very smart and she's had all of this thought out in advance. There's been times where I've seen, you know, things going on with Miley. She knows the chart. She set a path. She knew what she wanted to do. And in today's world, the shot factor is tremendously higher that it used to be.

MORGAN: And also with Miley I always feel, that it's not like we see her stumbling at night clubs or in some sort of scandal or, you know, the sort of sex, drugs, rock and roll stuff you might see within the low hand and others (ph), I'm not seeing that side to her. I mean, have I missed it all or she's pretty good as that?

CYRUS: She's never been arrested you know. She's really very focused and loves what she's doing and that's the main thing for me as a dad to see my little girl doing what she loves, making the music that she loves to make and hanging out with some incredibly talented producer, singer, songwriters, the musicians, the people that's around her right now. It's just a great abundance of creativity ...

MORGAN: Well she's lucky to have you because you've been through all this after "Achy Breaky Heart" you exploded around the world, I remember that well. And also, you know, her mom, Tish who I'm just having a chat with other but I never really talked to her before, delightful lady, very strong and very close to Miley obviously as well.

But let me put this things out, you're a part of the Parent Television Council and then for Conservative Values. They attacked the performance and they attacked MTV. That once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and so on, you seen all that. You're a responsible guy and I know, you're a respectful man in that sense. What is your response to those like that council and like people that have subscribed to it who have got serious concerns about what Miley did?

CYRUS: Well, I'm on the council, you know. I will say in 10 years, I don't recall being invited to a meeting. So I'm not exactly sure what the council does. But I started ...

MORGAN: Well they get very angry about things like Miley did?

CYRUS: They sure didn't (ph) too. My first series was called Doc and that's kind of when it started on PAX Television and we came and did Hannah Montana. And again, I've been on that council for awhile. But, you know, hey everybody is entitled to their opinions, you know, that's, you know, the old saying. You know the old saying, right, I mean you don't want me to say it do you?

MORGAN: Yes, you can.

CYRUS: Well opinions, opinions are like everybody has one. (inaudible) and you know what I'm talking about.

MORGAN: On a personal level ...

CYRUS: Fill in the word.

MORGAN: ... did you get angry about -- when people go after Miley given she is only 20 and they're attacking. They seem to tweet this stuff sometimes, a lot of is very positive, a lot of it is vicious.

CYRUS: Oh Lord, I'm her daddy, you know, it's -- I think at times, you know, being her dad I have -- I may take it a little more serious, I mean that's my daughter, you know, but I have had to learn, you know. Just stay focus on what you love, do what you do because you love it. Be thankful and grateful for the fans that you have that do appreciate the art that you make and, you know what, again, you know, for every action there is and opposite an equal reaction, you know.

MORGAN: Do you think she'd be the biggest pop star in the world there, I mean she's been famous but this is a like a whole new level, isn't it?

CYRUS: It does seem like a whole new level and yes, she has been very famous but she has reason to a whole new level and it's -- I thought I'd seen it all until these last couple of weeks and the whole thing just kind of went to a whole new level.

MORGAN: Well I think she's terrific, Miley Cyrus.

CYRUS: Thank you very much. I think she is too.

MORGAN: Truly had been in pop marketing. I think she's got great parents and she's got a great plan and she's having fabulous success. So long may she continue.

Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk about other things. You're telling me you watched the Rick Warren into the other night. We're very moved by that.

CYRUS: Oh, that was ...

MORGAN: And you're being such as -- figure a lot. I want to talk to you about that and about other stuff going on to the country right now.

CYRUS: OK.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Billy Ray Cyrus latest album, "Change My Mind" and Billy Ray is back with me now exclusively. You're watching the Rick Warren and Kay Warren interview the other night, very moving interview about the tragic suicide of their 27-year-old son, Matthew and you were telling me before we started the interview about the effect that Rick Warren had had on your life with his book. Tell me about that.

CYRUS: Right, incredible. His book came into my life at a time period where it was absolutely a God thing that his words in that book appeared in my life. It was a pretty tough time period and I began to study "Purpose Driven Life" and quite frankly I'm living it today that's really my -- that's my goal in life and what I do with my music and my life as to -- I'm searching for purpose and every single day I feel like I just -- part of the reason that I think God has, you know let me to live this life is I have a purpose to fulfill and I pray God to give me the wisdom and vision to fulfill that purpose.

Rick Warren's book just -- it just came at a time when I needed it most and him and his wife at that interview moved me deeply. I wanted to take this moment to express my sadness for them and at their loss of their son, but at the same time I gathered again from their strength, what incredibly strong people and that strength and their courage, it reciprocates as they speak their words, you feel their emotion -- they're great people.

MORGAN: I want to play a little clip from that show and I also want to ask you about it in particular. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: There must have been a moment after Matthew took his life when even you questioned your faith in God.

RICK WARREN, FOUNDER AND SENIOR PASTOR, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: I never questioned my faith in God. I question God's plan. There's a big difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You mentioned to me that you had a very close friend who took his life ... CYRUS: That's right.

MORGAN: ... with a gun exactly as Matthew Warren did. Tell me about that.

CYRUS: I was -- a year after we graduated high school, he was my very best friend, Robbie Tooley and it was the most unexpected moment. Robbie was a superstar at our school in sports and everybody loved Robbie Tooley. And he had just went to a situation in life that -- I don't know how that happened but somehow maybe -- again I wish I would have known more. I wish I would have been able to do more. I wish there was something that I could have done more to help Robbie. But somehow I think that he had thought that life had got the better of him and just want it out. I think this is what's so important these days in what Rick is doing to Matthew, you know, getting the word out there of how to get help.

People out there need to know that somebody will listen, that somebody cares and Matthew is in a better place. I think that he is without a doubt gone to heaven and looking back now, looking down on this earth and spreading his light and his love.

MORGAN: Did you think about your friend often?

CYRUS: Every single day. Every single day I think of Robbie Tooley and quite frankly I do use of that thought. I think that's one of the reasons why I ever since I lost Robbie I'd -- when I began struggling to find my purpose. I felt like how could it ...

MORGAN: Did you question your faith at all in that?

CYRUS: I did. I did. I've questioned it since then and questioned it, you know, even recently, but when you hear the words and you know that you just got to believe, you got to have hope. You got to believe in something and I think that's one of the things about our world where we're at now. This is a time for love, not hate. We need to build bridges, you know, not tear them down and I thought what the Pope said today, you know, "Love and mercy was powerful statement."

MORGAN: An extraordinary statement by this Pope who was an extraordinary man. I thought we're going to be debating the Pope after we finish this interview with three experts, because what he's really preaching is what I think America and Britain and other counties need is just more tolerance generally whether it's political, whether it's religious, whether it's sexual, whatever it is, racial, just more tolerance.

CYRUS: Absolutely. That's exactly right. Yeah.

MORGAN: Because if you don't have that, you just have endless acrimony right?

CYRUS: Exactly. That's right.

MORGAN: How much has this formed your thought process through your new songs.

CYRUS: Everyday, the songs are right -- come from within. I just write what I feel and, you know, just very real. The songs they just come from the emotions of my past, present, and in some way is the future. The song that's coming out now is called, "Hope is Just Ahead". It's looking at the moment that we're in now and, you know, there's a lot of stuff going on this world that brings danger and a lot of things need fixed, but without hope, you don't have nothing, you know.

So I think that that's the message that this song and that's what I'm trying to live now is just bringing hope and bringing light into this world of this, you know, there's so much darkness around every corner, you know. And again going back to Rick Warren, a guy like that that can feed our souls, our souls need fed. And ...

MORGAN: Yeah, I thought they've been creatively inspiring and his wife. The fact they go through that tragedy and still be positive and inspiring.

CYRUS: That's right.

MORGAN: And would have changed things for the good which is so powerful to me.

CYRUS: That's right.

MORGAN: A tragic experience, the first time when people grieving so intently. Billy Ray, I can talk to you all night. It's been a terrific interview.

CYRUS: Thank you.

MORGAN: Thank you so much. You are coming back later in the show with your other daughter Brandi and you'll be singing for us. What will you be singing for us?

CYRUS: "Hope is Just Ahead".

MORGAN: Which is a terrific song. I look forward to it.

CYRUS: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Thank you so much.

CYRUS: Thank you. Honor to be with you. Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming next, some surprising statements from the Pope as we just said, is it a new direction for the Catholic Church?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tonight, the new pope says something on an image problem. And then surprising newspaper interview Pope Francis says the church is obsessed with talking about abortion and same sex marriage and he believes it's time to stop interfering spiritually with the lives of gays and lesbian. Some called it unprecedented makeover for modern day Catholic Church. But will it work?

Well, joining me now is Father Albert Cutie, Episcopal Priest and author of "Dilemma". Edward Beck, he's a CNN Religion Commentator and host of the Sunday Mass, and Bill Donohue, President of Catholic League. Welcome to all of you.

Bill Donohue, let me ask you first of all, you're a pretty well- known hard line conservative on these matters, are you happy with the direction the Pope wants to take you?

BILL DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Yes, I'm delighted with it. And I wish people would read exactly what he has said as opposed to it being interpreted to other people's eyes. Look, he's a reformer. He wants to shake things up. And I do think that too many people on the right and the left who've got into their comfort zones, there are all little turf battles about abortion, homosexuality, the poor, the environment, they've lost side of what the Catholic Church is about. The Catholic Church is not about any of those subjects important as they are, it's about salvation. So, I think what this Pope wants to do is to cast it wide. Get your feet on the ground. Look at the macro picture. I'm all in favor of that.

MORGAN: OK. Father Albert Cutie, would you go along with that one or would you go a little further in sense or perhaps what the Pope is doing, he's preaching an all together more tolerant Catholic Church.

FATHER ALBERT CUTIE, AUTHOR, DILEMMA: I think that the Pope is refreshing just because he is speaking about these things. He's not trying to shelve the problems under the carpet. You know, a few months back, we saw how he acknowledged publicly in a group of people who visited him in the Vatican that there was a Vatican gay lobby that had to be dealt with, that there were many things happening within the Roman Curia that needed reform. And now, he's talking about the bigger picture, all the issues that society always troubles with when they think of church.

And church is not a place of condemnation, church is a place that's supposed to receive you and welcome you and love you and communicate the love of God. That's one of the things that I see in this Pope that is so refreshing. He is taking us back to the basics, to the gospel. It's about living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's not about telling people what part in hell they are going to be in for the rest of eternity.

MORGAN: Father Edward Beck, this will do and what it already is doing is making the whole Catholic Church talk about and say right. What does he mean, what does this mean for us, what does this mean for our diocese and so on? There's going to be one hell of a debate here. It seems to me as a Catholic, pretty clear that he was saying, "Look, you can bang on about these issues very loudly in a very -- what many people see as bordering on bigoted manner or we can be a more tolerant church that talks about these things in a more sensible and tolerant manner.

Now, am I reading too much into it or is he edging more of that way to perhaps his predecessor ever would have done.

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: No Piers. I think you're exactly right. He is talking about the church as healing wounded people. That's what struck me over and over again in this interview. He talked about healing the wounded. It was very interesting to me he said, "The confessional is not supposed to be a torture chamber. If a woman who had been divorced and had an abortion, that first marriage comes to confession. And now, she's happily married, has five kids, are you going to go back and focus on the abortion and the divorce or you're going to lead her forward in her life in happiness that she's being called to?" He calls himself a sinner. That's how it starts the article. When the interviewer says, "Who are you?" "Jorge Bergoglio, because first and foremost, I'm a sinner." And then he places himself next to every other sinner. I think that part is really remarkable.

MORGAN: Yeah, it's certainly great. Now, Bill Donohue, when he just said this? "Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being." Now again, I couldn't imagine any of his predecessors really saying something quite like that about gay people. Would you endorse every word of what he said about?

DONOHUE: Well I -- Now I -- would I endorse it. But I do disagree with you and there's nothing that John Paul II or Benedict XVI ever said that would in any way condemn a person because he's gay. What we've said is that there are certain acts such as homosexuality and certain institutions such as marriage which should not be changed to appease those people who want gay marriage. That is profoundly different from condemning a person because he's gay.

BECK: But you notice, Piers, Pope Francis is not talking about acts. He's talking about people. He's saying the drop ...

MORGAN: Right.

BECK: ... the categories of sin. Let's focus on ...

DONOHUE: Oh no, no, he never said that. No. No.

BECK: ... the mercy of people. He said, "Do not categorize sins."

DONOHUE: As a matter of fact, if you read it carefully, Father, what you'll find is that he's against the rigorist on the right. And he says those priests who are too lax, those ones who deny the existence of sin. It's in the statement it's important for people to read what the Pope said.

BECK: What he says is the Pope wanted ...

CUTIE: I got to tell you, one of the things that I see. One of the things that I see is that today in America, all of these groups that have been for, I would say more than two decades, pushing the constant, constant issue of contraception, the evils of contraception that the whole abortion issue, the issue towards the attitudes that are sometimes so negative toward homosexual persons and their acts.

Today, they must be worried because this Pope is telling them, "You know what? Stop it. You know, let's focus on the gospel. Let's focus on welcoming and loving people, and let's help them through the process of whatever it is they have to deal with." And that's one thing that the Pope has not said in the past. And if someone tells me that what this Pope is saying is not something new, they haven't been paying attention for a long time because let me tell you ...

MORGAN: Right. And he also ...

CUTIE: ... he's saying many new things ...

MORGAN: You're right.

CUTIE: ... he's saying many new things.

MORGAN: Yes. And also he goes further. He says this, "We have to find a new balance. Otherwise, even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the gospel."

Now, Bill Donohue, whichever way you try to spin that. That is a guy basically laying down a big marker to the Catholic Church and to all Catholics. You've got to move with the times of it or we won't have a church.

DONOHUE: All right. Let me just say something. Stop the hyperventilation on the right. Those people who are in mourning, stop the hyperventilation on the left. Those people are ready to pop the champagne. He's not going to change the church's teachings on gay marriage. He's not going to change the church's teachings on women's ordination. He's not going to change the church's teachings on abortion, and the faster people get that, the better. His style is in ...

MORGAN: You seemed very certain of this ...

DONOHUE: Absolutely. I am very ...

MORGAN: ... Bill Donohue. Father Cutie ...

DONOHUE: ... certain of that. I couldn't be more certain in anything in the world.

MORGAN: OK

CUTIE: But he certainly can ...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: ... could he ever change his mind about them. But Father Cutie, well Father Cutie, let me come to you and you were shaking your head there (inaudible) Bill Donohue seems absolutely convinced about all this. I must say, I wouldn't be running to the book makers to put heavy bets on this particular quote. BECK: I would.

MORGAN: Not absolute moving with the ...

DONOHUE: I think that people have.

MORGAN: On abortion?

CUTIE: I tell you, people in all denominations, they are wondering -- they're wondering why this Pope is saying what he's saying, and they do see a sense of reform taking place. Not just in the Roman Catholic Church, in society, and the way that we view religion, the way we view religious people.

For too long, religious leaders have been looked as, you know, the people who condemn you. This Pope is saying, "Guess what? I'm about welcoming people. I call people on the phone and have personal conversations with them. And I tell them that they're loved by God, and that I will baptize that child that was born out of wedlock." You know how many priest I've met in the Roman Catholic Church that still will not baptize a child because those parents were not married by a pries in a church? Or will deny people the sacraments for all kinds of reasons that they shouldn't be denying them?

Well this Pope is saying, "Guess what? We should begin to think differently." And I think that that's reform.

DONOHUE: So are you coming back, Father? Or you're going to just stay where you are? Are you coming back? Is that what you're saying father?

CUTIE: I'm not coming back.

DONOHUE: Oh OK. Just to get that clear.

CUTIE: I have no reason to back and you know that.

DONOHUE: Just to get that clear.

CUTIE: You know that very well because I think ...

DONOHUE: I wanted to make that for sure...

CUTIE: ... the truth is I'll tell you. Celibacy is another issue this Pope is talking about ...

DONOHUE: That can change.

CUTIE: ... and the fact is there's some people who will accept it and some times, they won't talk about it but that's the truth. Yes.

MORGAN: Well, the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that this debate is being had all over the world right now amongst Catholics. And that in itself to me as a Catholic is extremely encouraging, and I love this Pope. I think he's a breath of fresh air, and long may he continue to challenge the boundaries and get us talking. Gentlemen, thank you all very much.

DONOHUE: Thank you.

BECK: Thank you, Piers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

MORGAN: Next. A true comedy icon, there's no thought (ph) even introducing this guy, he's Bob Newhart and he's clutching after 84 years his first Emmy. Bob, welcome.

BOB NEWHART, COMEDY ICON: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Look at it. Is it big and heavy as it looks?

NEWHART: It's heavy.

MORGAN: Always wanted to hold one of this.

NEWHART: It's heavy. Yeah.

MORGAN: Thank you to my parents.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHELDON COOPER: I'm just close to you as I want without my mom saying it's going to ruin my eyes.

NEWHART: Is he dangerous?

LEONARD HOFSTADTER: Actually, he's a genius.

COOPER: I am.

NEWHART: That doesn't answer my question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Bob Newhart has been a TV legend for 55 years. His classic 70 series of Bob Newhart Show ran for six years, and then Newhart ran for eight more seasons in the '80s. But for that performance we just showed you from the Big Bang Theory that the comedy icon finally earned his first Emmy at the princely age of 84.

In the Chair with me tonight, I'm delighted to say is Bob Newhart. Bob, congratulations.

NEWHART: Thank you Piers. Thank you very much.

MORGAN: 84 years until you're going to get one of those.

NEWHART: Well, if someone asked me why, you know, why this is the first time and people had assumed that I once have the rate and I have and the obvious explanation is because there were better people in my category that made this ...

MORGAN: Well that's never the case there, actually it isn't. You just hadn't bought enough people off, hadn't bought enough dinners, Bob.

But you apparently had eight versions of your acceptance speech ready over the last 52 years. Were there any names on the original acceptance speech that actually survived to the final moment when you want one?

NEWHART: I think I thanked Mr. Ed.

MORGAN: Your wife.

NEWHART: And so my wife of course, my wife of 50 years ...

MORGAN: Yes.

NEWHART: ... she was the first one.

MORGAN: Yes.

NEWHART: I thank -- when I got up there, I had some things I was going to say and -- but they only give you about 40 seconds to ...

MORGAN: What didn't you get the chance to say that you would like to say? Because it's been so long coming and so incredibly deserved.

NEWHART: Well, what happened was I got up there. I heard my name and I turn to my wife and gave her a kiss. And then, I walk up and then I saw this and I suddenly realized that it was going to be in my house and then as I looked at the audience and they gave me a standing ovation. And that just destroyed me.

MORGAN: How did it make you feel mostly?

NEWHART: Well, and first of all it's your peers, you know, its your peers who are saying --and I kind of, you know, I kind of said, well I'm just never going to get one, because when you come from a stand up comedy world it's like let's just --that's Bobby and Bob and that's Bill Cosby and me and Bill Cosby and that's Jerry Seinfeld, me and Jerry Seinfeld. And a lot more goes into it than that. So that's what struck me.

MORGAN: How did your great friend and sparring partner Don Rickles take this mean (ph), must have been a huge blow to him.

NEWHART: He wrote me a letter of congratulations. It took him several days.

MORGAN: He master up some form of ...

NEWHART: To pay ...

MORGAN: ... sincerity. NEWHART: ... complement, yeah.

MORGAN: Let's watch the clip from the great days of Newhart. Let's see this.

NEWHART: Oh, OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWHART: Honey wake up. You won't believe the dream I just had.

But don't you want to hear about it?

EMILY HARTLEY: All right, Bob. What is it?

NEWHART: That I was an inn keeper in this craziest little town in Vermont.

HARTLEY: I'm happy for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Rolling Stone Magazine, because that was the finale obviously of Newhart and they said ....

NEWHART: My wife's idea about this ...

MORGAN: I was going to come to that, because they vote Rolling Stone says the number one sitcom forever. One of the great TV moments there, I think was up there with the moon landing (ph).

Your wife had that idea, right, for the finale scene?

NEWHART: Yes. It happened in the Newhart around 8 years so within the 6th year and I was kind of unhappy with the shoot. They were moving us around 8:30 and then 9:30. And we're at the Christmas party in Beverly Hills and we're waiting our line to get our presentation with the host and hosts and I said, "You know, honey I think this is going to beat them the last year." And she knew I was unhappy and she said right there, she said, well you got to end the show and with a dream sequence.

And, you know, that you wake up in bed and Suzy is there and you explain this weird dream you had of owning an inn in Vermont. I said, "Oh what I great idea."

And Suzy was -- happened to be at the same party and we told her and she said, "I'll be there in New York in a minute," she said.

MORGAN: And it was amazing television moment. But you all owe it to your wife. Was she the real comic genius here Bob? Have we been lauding and awarding the wrong person.

NEWHART: She has been amply rewarded first.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk more about comedy, and also about the Catholic Church because you are a Catholic.

NEWHART: Yes.

MORGAN: And you confided and then before we started that a Catholic priest try to stop marrying your wife on the grounds you were both show business sinners. I want to discuss with you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's really you.

HOFSTADTER: Mr. Jeffries, I am so sorry. We should have told you about the broken elevator.

NEWHART: I agree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, there's people when you're going to New York with who are afraid to fly.

NEWHART: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm one of them.

NEWHART: You're afraid of flying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what I said.

NEWHART: Why that's just stupid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A scene from the (inaudible) Bob Newhart Show and I'm back with the now Emmy Award Winning man himself Bob Newhart, someone just tweeted me out, "I've never heard you laugh as loudly, Piers as you are tonight with the legendary Bob Newhart".

You are responsible for more people suffering ruptures I should think that explains (ph) laughing. Anyway, tell me about your wife, Ginny. You've been married for 50 years, you celebrated that this year. She's obviously a comic genius like you. We've already established that. But you tell your love story before you went on air, Bob.

You were listening to the debated about the new Pope. Tell me about your story.

NEWHART: Well, 50 years ago. We were married 50 years in January. We went to this priest, Catholic priest, we're both Catholic. And he asked me what I did and I said that I -- at that time I had a television show. And he asked Ginny, what she did and Ginny was an extra. She was an extra on Ozzie and Harriet. And she -- when they say you want Ricky (ph) to sing another song her language.

MORGAN: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

NEWHART: So he said, "Well I can't marry you." And I said, "Why not?" He said, "Well because show business marriages they never last." So when we celebrated our 50th, I wanted to invite him, but I don't even know if he's still a priest.

MORGAN: If he's still alive. Yeah. And it did last. Never mind (inaudible) your married, that's a great story. Do you like to new Pope? Are you a fan?

NEWHART: I think, as you said, a breath of fresh air.

MORGAN: Yes.

NEWHART: I especially love -- I have -- my sister is religious. She's a nun.

MORGAN: Oh, really?

NEWHART: Yeah. And so I especially love when he said that woman has to take a more prominent ...

MORGAN: Yes.

NEWHART: ... sisters have to take more prominent role ...

MORGAN: Yes.

NEWHART: ... in the church and that was -- he's just extraordinary.

MORGAN: He does seem a special guy to me. I think it -- he's going to be shakeup for the church and it's long over due.

Let's talk about comedy. The nature of comedy changes, but does it really change? I mean, you were telling me, I was that -- it's that new mini series coming on Johnny Carson. You stood in with Johnny Carson 87 times.

NEWHART: Yes.

MORGAN: He's incredible. Statistically, I have no idea about, but do you think comedy itself changes, Bob. Or should the jokes stay the same, just get repackaged.

NEWHART: No. I don't thin they get repackage. But Steve Allen used to say, he got it from Gertrude Stein that funny is funny it's funny. And that's ...

MORGAN: So, who do you find funny of the modern crop of comedians when you see them? NEWHART: Well, I like -- at first, it's not the modern crop anymore. It's -- you know, I enjoy Jerry Seinfeld. I enjoy Rickles. My God, I have to say that.

MORGAN: When I say modern that didn't mean Don Rickles. I mean, he is even older than you.

NEWHART: You said it. You said it. I didn't say it.

MORGAN: Is he the modern crop, I mean, God help us. If Don Rickles is the future -- I was trying to think somebody at least below 90.

NEWHART: This will be added it out.

MORGAN: They'll go and shop for you. It's alive these days. We've already been. Don Rickles is probably watching this and he can't believe luck. You just proclaim him as the future of comedy.

NEWHART: Yeah, it's a ...

MORGAN: Is there anybody under 90 you could put your finger on that makes you laugh other than Don Rickles?

NEWHART: Well, I can put my finger on the mirror.

MORGAN: Do you like Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand and that style of British talent?

NEWHART: I'm not -- I know Ricky. Brand, I'm not familiar with his work.

MORGAN: What about Ricky Gervais, when you see him (inaudible) people at the Emmy's, is that you find him funny?

NEWHART: Once I get the translation.

Yes, I find myself laughing. Yes.

MORGAN: I putting to the test with Ricky Gervais and I said, look if you had five minutes to live, what is the joke you would tell and he went deeply offensive at my expense, which knowing him as I do is exactly how he would wish to die and I wouldn't beg because he's about to die.

What would be the joke you would do.

NEWHART: Jay Leno called me up and congratulated me on the Emmy and he said he's favorite joke that I told on his show about this man who was -- the spaceship landed and these aliens took him on the spaceship and they took him up to Mars and he was on Mars for about -- I don't know, month. And he came back and of course, immediately the CIA took him in to interrogate him.

And they said, "Did you find that the civilization was more advanced than ours?" And he said, "Oh, yes. It was more advanced." And they said, "By how much would you say." He said, "I would say, six weeks." Because, they, you know, those disposable races, they already had him up there and then we got him like six weeks later.

MORGAN: And I say they probably already got Don Rickles. I said, "Do you feel good up there, is it?" Bob Newhart it's been such a joy to finally interview you. Congratulations again on the Emmy.

We'll look forward to your upcoming return on the Big Bang Theory and your stand up tour around America. I don't know how you do it, but you're an amazing trooper and long may you continue tripping.

Great to see you.

NEWHART: Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming next. Billy Ray Cyrus is back with his exclusive musical performance with his daughter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: AC 360 Later coming up in a few moments but right now, Billy Ray Cyrus is back to perform his new song, "Hope Is Just Ahead", and with his daughter Brandi.