Claire Atkinson at the New York Post reports:
CNN host Piers Morgan could join the late-night crowd.
The slumping cable news network is considering moving his hour-long interview show from the prized 9 p.m. slot back to 10 p.m. — or even later, The Post has learned.
While sources said no decisions have been made, incoming CNN chief Jeff Zucker and his new bosses at Time Warner are focused on boosting ratings in the primetime hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
One source said Zucker may look to carve out a role for Morgan when his three-year, $8 million contract expires next year. In 2010, the British journalist was hired to replace the retiring Larry King and help win back viewers from rivals.
“They will keep Piers. He’ll be the kind of person Zucker will want to keep. They are not interested in doing a total cleaning of house,” said one exec familiar with the discussions.
CNN, which is lagging behind Fox and MSNBC in the ratings, is also looking to stop showing repeats of Anderson Cooper’s news show. The network has been airing “AC360” at 8 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. after the cancellation of Eliot Spitzer’s show more than a year ago.
(News Corp. owns Fox and The Post.)
“As for Anderson Cooper, I’d expect he’d no longer keep the 8 p.m. slot and the 10 p.m. slot, and Piers Morgan would be moved out of 9 p.m.,” said the executive.
Even before the arrival of Zucker, the network had been combing Hollywood talent agencies, touting the possibility of a late-night talk show.
CNN declined to comment. Morgan’s agent, John Ferriter, didn’t return calls.
A 10 p.m. slot would pit Morgan against Charlie Rose on Bloomberg TV. An even later slot at 11 p.m. would put him in competition with late-night hosts such as David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel.
Morgan has had to be flexible and cover breaking news, still CNN’s bread and butter. He recently did a show on Hurricane Sandy with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.