Piers Morgan didn't wait for the marketing machine at CNN to take its normal course. The new digital world perhaps forced this. Twitter also had a hand.
Since "Piers Morgan Tonight" replaced "Larry King Live," Morgan's new style of politician/celebrity interview show has been reflected through his unusual marketing and promotional efforts.
Most recently Morgan was found pleading with a New York Times reporter that he deserved some big press. His private Twitter message to reporter Brian Stelter asked, "Now that Oprah's called me 'My toughest interview for 20 years,' shouldn't you be interviewing me for NYT to talk about it?" Winfrey actually said it was "one of the toughest interviews" anyone had done of her.
Toughest? A bunch of reviews said Morgan threw a hefty amount of softballs Winfrey's way as well. Even Morgan noted that if the interview did well, Winfrey might just tell all her friends about it.
No doubt CNN did a major job in marketing and public relations work on the show. But Morgan admits to being a full-time self-promoter. Replacing 25-year-veteran King was no easy task. And Morgan isn't the first TV or entertainment personality to actively take the reins of their own marketing efforts.
Morgan, of course, knows a thing or two about big spin, having edited one of the most notoriously edgy and scandal-oriented daily newspapers, News Corp.'s News of the World in the U.K.
Of course Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann or Bill O'Reilly may also do promotional shout-outs for their respective shows. But, as Morgan says -- as many might say -- it's all about creating "noise."
Perhaps Morgan isn't your straight-ahead news anchor/news reader/news analyst, which makes it easier. Coming from the likes of "America's Got Talent," he has already set out a profile as someone who will blur the lines.
You have to wonder. Why don't more TV and entertainment stars do this? Some would say that concentrating on their work -- lines, characters, interviews, or journalism -- takes precedence. But considering the new TV and digital space, marketing/promotion efforts can't stop at a TV Critics tour or with on-air and off-air marketing campaigns. Lots more needs to be done.
Think marketing first? Maybe that doesn't make sense. But these days marketing needs to progress pretty closely and aggressively with content, whether for a news program, scripted drama, comedy, or interview/talk show.
The results? Morgan's first show with Winfrey pulled in 2.1 million viewers, three times King's most recent average. Still, that was only the first show -- and Fox's competing Sean Hannity, interviewing Sarah Palin, drew more viewers, 2.36 million. The next night, with Howard Stern as guest, Morgan dropped to 1.2 million viewers.
All to say, reporters beware: Your private Twitter message from Piers Morgan will be arriving soon.