Saturday, May 18, 2024

Exclusive: Piers Morgan Says He’s Staying at CNN to Do “Big Name” Interviews


CNN’s Piers Morgan, who is ending his nightly show on the network, isn’t going anywhere. He told me last night that he’s staying at the network. “I’ll make a deal to do 20 ro 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.”

Morgan said his producer, Jonathan Wald, has already made a deal to stick around. What does he think will replace his current show? “A news program of some kind,” he said. He also acknowledged that his campaign for gun control was like “beating my head against a wall.”

Morgan was one of dozens of big names who attended a swanky dinner at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills last night thrown by Harvey Weinstein to show off numbers from a possible new Broadway musical called “Finding Neverland.”

Oprah Winfrey, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, U2’s Bono and Adam Clayton, Harry Styles from One Direction, Josh Groban, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Gayle King, Sharon Osbourne, Tyler Perry, Irving Azoff, Universal Music chief Lucian Grange, Bob Balaban, Dermot Mulroney, plus Steve Coogan with Philomena Lee, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, hit songwriter Diane Warren, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant, all went wild from performances by the show’s composers Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and Laura Michelle Kelly.

Jason Alexander turned up as a surprise performer and narrator of the show. Weinstein said he’s been trying to get Alexander to join the permanent cast that already includes Matthew Morrison from “Glee.” But Alexander told me last night, just like recent “Seinfeld” reunion during the Super Bowl, was a one off experience.

Alexander– this is an exclusive— is preparing his own show for Broadway, not a musical– possibly for next year.

The reception to the “Finding Neverland” songs must have been gratifying for Weinstein, who tried unsuccessfully to mount a version of the show in the UK last year. It fizzled. This new edition sounds like the right thing. Harvey told his guests that getting this show up “is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

While Weinstein has invested in a lot of hit stage shows, this is the first one he’s created from scratch. It’s based on his Oscar nominated Best Picture starring Johnny Depp and directed by Marc Forster.

For the final number, the Neverlanders were joined by Darlene Love, Tata Vega and Judith Hill from the documentary “20 Feet from Stardom.” That film won a prize earlier in the day at the Independent Spirit Awards.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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