By Ken Tucker
January 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

It took a while for Piers Morgan to get a rise out of Howard Stern, but Stern finally uncorked when the subject turned to Jay Leno. On the second night of Piers Morgan Tonight, Stern called the Tonight Show host a “crook,” “insane,” “not fit to scrub David Letterman’s feet,” and said that Leno “steals a tremendous amount of material.” “America must be filled with morons,” said Stern, “the ones who watch Jay, they must be in a coma.”

This was just about the only moment the conversation sprang to life, however. Too much time was wasted with Piers Morgan complimenting Piers Morgan. “I’m the British King of All Media,” he said to the self-proclaimed King of All Media. “I’m teasing stuff out of you,” boasted Morgan. Stern looked nonplussed. “I don’t think you got anything out of me,” he replied. The conversation rambled uneventfully, unless you think it’s news that Stern doesn’t dye his hair.

Morgan’s questions ranged from “Are you sex-mad?” to “How much do you make?” — as though Stern was going to answer that. Morgan tried to tease him — “You’re a domesticated little pussycat” — only to be met with Stern’s mild assent. Our Piers has a tendency to over-inflate things, referring, for example, to “the David Arquette moment, which is the stuff of legend.” Legend? Really?

I was rooting for Morgan, but his second show was a tedious dud. Anyone with even a minimal interest in Stern would have heard nearly everything he said on Tuesday night before, and I don’t even hear Stern on satellite radio.

Clearly, Piers Morgan Tonight will have to do some work on the host’s tone; he needs to demonstrate some aggressiveness, rather than merely asserting it.

Twitter: @kentucker

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