New low for Piers Morgan as show brings worst-ever ratings to prime CNN slot

  • @iburrell

Less than 18 months after stepping into Larry King's shoes at CNN, Piers Morgan's ratings have bombed to the lowest 9pm primetime levels the network has seen in the 21 years it has been collating audience data.

Piers Morgan Tonight, which began on CNN in January 2011 on the back of a major publicity campaign, has lost 27 per cent of total audience – and suffered a 32 per cent fall in the key 25-54 year old demographic – from the same quarter last year. It's not what the network had hoped for when it took a chance on the English presenter.

But if the ebullient Morgan is suffering from a crisis of confidence there was little sign of it yesterday. On his prolific Twitter account it was business as usual – ramblings about Arsenal and baiting Lord Sugar.

When someone suggested Morgan's ratings problems were worse "than a Moody's analyst with an undiagnosed brain tumour", he brazenly retweeted the comment.

Morgan initially trebled the audience that his long-standing predecessor King had been getting in his final shows. But Piers Morgan Tonight has faded badly as CNN has suffered a wider ratings crisis.

The former Daily Mirror editor (before he was humiliatingly sacked over fake pictures) is used to public falls from grace. "One day you're cock of the walk, the next you're a feather duster," is his catchline on Twitter, and he once described that expression as his "family motto".