Image Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesAs we learned earlier today, Piers Morgan has been chosen as the man who will be King. Larry King, that is. After months of speculation, CNN finally announced that Morgan will fill the void left by King when he retires this fall — hardly a surprise to anyone who kept up with the rumor mill. “It’s quite a relief that it’s all done and dusted and announced, definitely,” Morgan told EW. Just hours after the news broke, Morgan called up EW to chat about his new show — launching in January — which, as-of-now, remains unnamed. “I’ll be pretty upset if my name is not in there somewhere,” he says. “Everybody else at CNN seems to have their name. So if it turns out to be Larry King Barely Alive with a picture of me, I’m not going to be very happy.” Here are five things you should know about CNN’s newest prime-time interviewer:
- He’ll bring ch-ch-changes: Call Morgan CNN’s Frank Sinatra. “I want to do it my way,” he says. And Morgan’s way means a shake-up of the show — King himself told him to “Be yourself, do what you do” — but, sadly, Morgan is staying mum for the time being. “I’m not going to reveal my secret little goodies now,” he says.
- He’s not afraid to go after the big guys — and that includes American Idol: Says the America’s Got Talent star about the in-flux judging panel of TV’s other reality competition series: “I think Idol is in a bit of disarray at the moment. And, frankly, as one of the enemy shows, I’m quite happy to see that disarray. The more disarray, the better.”
- He shoots for the stars: Morgan says he’ll be aiming high when it comes to his show’s guest line-up. “I’m going to go for the biggest targets on the planet,” he says. “I want to get the biggest names, the biggest people, go after the biggest stories. There’s nothing I like more than breaking big stories with big interviews, and creating headlines. It’s what I do best.” So who is at the center of his bullseye? “Why don’t you come up with a list of the 20 biggest names in the world,” he says, “and I’ll confirm I’m definitely interested in talking to them. I wouldn’t rule anybody in, and anybody out. You can take your pick.”
- He’ll work a double shift: Morgan confirms he’ll continue work as a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, regardless of the hectic schedule. “It will work,” he says. “I’m used to hard work. I’m used to criss-crossing across the country.”
- He might just surprise American audiences: More known in the U.S. for his work on reality shows like America’s Got Talent and The Celebrity Apprentice, Morgan expects some Americans might see a different, more journalistic side of him on CNN. “I just saw a tweet from Sylvester Stallone saying that I’m one of the best interviewers he’s ever had,” he says. “There are some who know about me and know what I’ve done, and others who probably aren’t aware of what I do.” Still, don’t expect to see a more timid side of the man who famously sparred with Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth on the first season of Celebrity Apprentice. “I don’t think I’m going to be softballing people,” he says, “but at the same time, I don’t think I’m going to be too brutal. I’m not going to basically kill the show by being so unpleasant that you can’t get any guests. I’m going to hopefully be quite charming to guests, and I think civilized.”