Piers Morgan

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Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan

ID:16931 Section: Person

Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

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(Wikipedia) - Piers Morgan Piers Morgan Born Education Alma mater Occupation Years active Employer Known for Television Religion Spouse(s) Children Parents
Morgan in 2012
Piers Stefan O''Meara (1965-03-30) 30 March 1965 (age 49) Newick, East Sussex, England
Chailey School
Harlow College
Broadcaster, panellist, journalist, talk show host, television talent competition judge
South London News (1985–88) The Sun (1989–94) News of the World (1994–95) Daily Mirror (1995–2004)
Newspaper editing Television work
Britain''s Got Talent America''s Got Talent Winner of The Celebrity Apprentice The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan Piers Morgan On... Piers Morgan''s Life Stories Piers Morgan Live
Roman Catholic
Marion Shalloe (m. 1991–2008) (divorced) Celia Walden (m. 2010)
Spencer, Stanley, Albert, Elise
Vincent Eamonn O''Meara(deceased) Gabrielle O''Meara (née Oliver)

Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan (born Piers Stefan O''Meara, 30 March 1965), known professionally as Piers Morgan, is a British journalist, television host and former television talent competition judge currently working in the United States as Editor-at-Large (US) of MailOnline.

He is editorial director of First News, a national newspaper for children published in the UK. He began hosting Piers Morgan Live on CNN on 17 January 2011. The show replaced Larry King Live in the 9:00 pm timeslot following King''s retirement. Piers Morgan Live was cancelled by CNN in February 2014 and aired its final broadcast on March 28, 2014. Morgan is a former judge on America''s Got Talent and Britain''s Got Talent, and a winner of Celebrity Apprentice.

In the UK, Morgan worked as a writer and editor for several British tabloids, including The Sun, News of the World and the Daily Mirror. In November 2012, he was heavily criticised in the official findings of the Leveson Inquiry, when Lord Leveson stated that comments made in Morgan''s testimony about phone hacking were "utterly unpersuasive" and "clearly prove ... that he was aware that it was taking place in the press as a whole and that he was sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behaviour that he was prepared to joke about it".

Morgan has written eight books, including four volumes of memoirs.

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 At the Murdoch titles
    • 2.2 Daily Mirror editor
    • 2.3 Post-Mirror press career
    • 2.4 In television
  • 3 Feuds
    • 3.1 Ian Hislop
    • 3.2 Jeremy Clarkson
    • 3.3 Janet Mock
    • 3.4 Banned guests
  • 4 Phone hacking allegations
  • 5 Personal life
  • 6 Books
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Piers Stefan O''Meara was born on 30 March 1965 in Newick, East Sussex, England, to Vincent Eamonn O''Meara, an Irish-born dentist, originally from County Offaly, and Gabrielle Georgina Sybille (née Oliver). His father died when Piers was one year old and his mother subsequently remarried. He has three older step-siblings.

He took his stepfather''s surname and became known as Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan. He attended the independent school Cumnor House from the ages of seven to thirteen, and then Chailey School, a comprehensive secondary school in Chailey, near Lewes, East Sussex, followed by Priory School for sixth form. Morgan studied journalism at Harlow College. After a brief career at Lloyd''s of London, he joined the Surrey and South London Newspaper Group in 1985, where he worked as a reporter on the South London News, and the Streatham and Tooting News. Morgan was recruited (he says headhunted by editor Kelvin MacKenzie) to join The Sun, to work on the Bizarre column.

Career At the Murdoch titles

Morgan''s first major position in national media was as de facto editor of The Sun''s show business column, Bizarre, under the editorship of Kelvin MacKenzie. In 1994, aged 29, he was appointed editor of News of the World by Rupert Murdoch, becoming the youngest national newspaper editor in more than half a century. He quickly gained notoriety for his invasive, thrusting style and lack of concern for celebrities'' privacy, claiming that they could not manipulate the media to further their own ends without accepting the consequences of a two-way deal.

Morgan left this post in 1995 shortly after publishing photographs of Catherine Victoria Lockwood, then wife of Charles, Earl Spencer leaving an addictive disorders clinic in Surrey. This action ran against the editors'' code of conduct, a misdemeanour for which the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint against Morgan. Murdoch was reported as having said that "the boy went too far" and publicly distanced himself from the story. Fearful of a privacy law action if he had not criticised one of his employees, Murdoch is said to have apologised to Morgan in private.

The incident was reported to have contributed to Morgan''s decision to leave for the Daily Mirror editorship. Morgan''s autobiography The Insider states that he left the News of the World of his own choice and somewhat against owner Rupert Murdoch''s wishes when he was offered the job of Editor at the Daily Mirror.

Daily Mirror editor

As editor of the Mirror, in 1996 Morgan was forced to apologise on television for the headline (rendered in upper case) "Achtung Surrender! For You Fritz Ze Euro Championship Is Over" on 25 June 1996, a day before England met Germany in a semi-final of the Euro ''96 football championships.

A £16 million package of investment in the title was rolled out from January, including the dropping of "Daily" from the masthead in February, which was later reversed. Roy Greenslade wrote in August 1999 that Morgan''s editorship "has made a huge difference: his enormous enthusiasm, determination and focus is a major plus".

In 2000, Morgan was the subject of an investigation after Suzy Jagger wrote a story in The Daily Telegraph revealing that he had bought £20,000 worth of shares in the computer company Viglen soon before the Mirror ''s "City Slickers" column tipped Viglen as a good buy. Morgan was found by the Press Complaints Commission to have breached the Code of Conduct on financial journalism, but kept his job. The "City Slickers" columnists, Anil Bhoyrul and James Hipwell, were both found to have committed further breaches of the Code and were sacked before the inquiry concluded. In 2004, further enquiry by the Department of Trade and Industry cleared Morgan of any charges. On 7 December 2005, Bhoyrul and Hipwell were convicted of conspiracy to breach the Financial Services Act. During the trial it emerged that Morgan had bought £67,000 worth of Viglen shares, emptying his bank account and investing under his wife''s name, too.

In 2002, the Mirror attempted to move mid-market, claiming to eschew the more trivial stories of show-business and gossip. Morgan rehired John Pilger, who had been sacked during Robert Maxwell''s ownership of the Mirror titles.

Morgan was fired as Editor of the Daily Mirror "with immediate effect" on 14 May 2004, after refusing to apologise to Sly Bailey, then head of Trinity Mirror, for authorising the newspaper''s publication of photographs which had been shown to be false. These were alleged to show Iraqi prisoners being abused by British Army soldiers from the Queen''s Lancashire Regiment. When, within days the photographs were shown to be crude fakes, under the headline "SORRY..WE WERE HOAXED", the Mirror responded that it had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" and apologised for the publication of the photographs.

Post-Mirror press career

In May 2005, in partnership with Matthew Freud, he gained ownership of Press Gazette, a media trade publication together with its "cash cow", the British Press Awards, in a deal worth £1 million. This ownership was cited as one of the reasons many major newspapers boycotted the 2006 awards. Press Gazette entered administrative receivership toward the end of 2006, before being sold to a trade buyer.

On 4 May 2006, Morgan launched First News, a weekly paper aimed at seven to 14-year-olds. Upon its launch Morgan claimed that the paper was to be "Britain''s first national newspaper for children". Morgan was editorial director at First News, responsible for bringing in celebrity involvement. He referred to the role as "editorial overlord and frontman".

In 2007, Morgan was filmed falling off a Segway, breaking three ribs. Simon Cowell and others made much of Morgan''s previous comment in 2003, in a Mirror headline after former U.S. President George W. Bush fell off a Segway: "You''d have to be an idiot to fall off wouldn''t you, Mr President".

In television

Morgan''s career expanded into television presentation before he was forced to leave the Daily Mirror. In 2003, he presented a three-part television documentary series for the BBC titled The Importance of Being Famous, about fame and the manner in which celebrities are covered by modern media.

He co-hosted his own current affairs interview show on Channel 4 with Amanda Platell, Morgan and Platell. Morgan and Platell were put together because of their opposing political viewpoints; Platell interrogated guests from the right wing, Morgan from the left wing. The show was dropped after three series allegedly because of poor viewing figures, although the chairman of Channel 4 Luke Johnson was reported not to like the programme.

Throughout 2006, Morgan appeared as a judge on the American television show America''s Got Talent alongside Brandy Norwood and David Hasselhoff on NBC. Morgan was chosen by Simon Cowell as a replacement for himself because of the conditions of his American Idol contract. Morgan appeared as a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice in 2007, to raise money for Comic Relief. During filming, he and Alastair Campbell reduced fellow contestant Trinny Woodall to tears when they tried to sabotage her team''s event, and were involved in a brawl with her. Upon his team losing, Morgan was selected by Sir Alan Sugar as the contestant to be fired.

Also in 2007, he appeared as a judge for the second season of America''s Got Talent and also appeared as a judge on Britain''s Got Talent on ITV1, alongside Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell. He also presented You Can''t Fire Me, I''m Famous on BBC One. In January 2008, Morgan fronted a three-part documentary about Sandbanks for ITV1 entitled Piers Morgan on Sandbanks.

Morgan was the winner of the U.S. celebrity version of The Apprentice, in 2008. Morgan ended up the overall winner, being named Celebrity Apprentice on 27 March, ahead of fellow finalist, American country music star Trace Adkins and having raised substantially more cash than all the other contestants combined.

In May 2008, Morgan signed a two-year "golden handcuffs" deal with ITV reportedly worth £2 million per year. As part of the deal, Morgan would continue as a judge on Britain''s Got Talent for at least two more series and front a new chat show. He also made some interview specials, plus three more documentaries from various countries. Morgan''s golden handcuffs deal was the first signing by ITV''s new director of television, Peter Fincham.

On 8 September 2008, a new series started, The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan, produced by BBC Scotland.

Morgan returned to ITV in February 2009, with the series, Piers Morgan On..., which saw him visit Dubai, Monte Carlo and Hollywood. The series positioned Morgan as a modern day Alan Whicker and received strong viewing figures for the channel. The programme returned for a second series in 2010 when Morgan visited Las Vegas, Marbella, and Shanghai.

In 2009, Morgan''s show, Piers Morgan''s Life Stories, began on ITV with Sharon Osbourne as the subject of the first episode. Other guests on the programme have included Cheryl Tweedy and the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

On 8 September 2010, CNN announced that Morgan would replace Larry King in the network''s evening line-up with his show, Piers Morgan Live, beginning on 17 January 2011. The program was cancelled in February 2014 and ended its run in March 2014. CNN noted the poor ratings of Piers Morgan Live, and commenting on them Morgan said that he was "a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it."

Feuds Ian Hislop

Morgan appeared as a guest on the satirical news quiz Have I Got News for You in an episode transmitted on 24 May 1996. In it, show regular Ian Hislop accused Morgan of having him followed and having his house watched. The conflict escalated and at one point the host, Angus Deayton, asked if they wished to go outside and have a fight. Later on, guest panellist Clive Anderson confronted Morgan commenting, "... the last time I was rude to you, you sent photographers to my doorstep the next day", to which Piers Morgan retorted, "You won''t see them this time." The audience responded loudly in favour of Hislop. "''We''re about to start exposing the moon-faced midget''", Morgan was quoted as saying in 2002, to which Hislop responded, "''...all he''s been offering for information about my private life is a £50 reward. My friends think that''s not nearly enough.''"

In 2007, Hislop chose Morgan as one of his pet hates on Room 101. In doing so, Hislop spoke of the history of animosity between himself and Morgan and revealed that after their exchange on Have I Got News For You (which was shown as a clip), Morgan''s reporters were tasked with trying to get gossip on Hislop''s private life (including phoning acquaintances of Hislop), and photographers were sent in case Hislop did anything untoward or embarrassing while in their presence. Neither the reporters nor the photographers succeeded. Hislop also revealed that Morgan had attempted to quell the feud in an article in The Mail On Sunday, saying, "The war is over. I''m officially calling an end to hostilities, at least from my end. I''m sure it won''t stop him carrying on his ''Piers Moron'' stuff." Hislop, who had been engaged in work on a First World War documentary at the time, responded by asking "Is that an armistice or an unconditional surrender?" Although the show''s host Paul Merton agreed to put Morgan into Room 101, he was comically rejected as being "too toxic", even for Room 101.

Jeremy Clarkson

In October 2003, journalist and television personality Jeremy Clarkson reportedly emptied a glass of water over Morgan during the last flight of Concorde. In March 2004, at the British Press Awards, Clarkson punched Morgan three times in a clash over The Mirror''s coverage of his private life, and accusations that Clarkson did not write for his column in The Sun himself. Morgan reported on a rapprochement with Clarkson in the epilogue of his book, Don''t You Know Who I Am?.

Janet Mock

On 4 February 2014, transgender advocate Janet Mock appeared as a guest on Piers Morgan Live to discuss her memoir, Redefining Realness. After the interview aired, Mock sent a series of Tweets criticising Morgan for describing Mock as being "formerly a man". Morgan responded that he had "never been treated in such a disgraceful manner" by a guest. On 5 February, Mock appeared as a guest again to debate the dispute.

Banned guests

On 28 March 2012, MTV referred to the bad relations between Piers Morgan and Madonna, reporting that "Morgan has apparently felt slighted over the years by Madonna ... he claims he was lied to by the singer''s publicist".

In September 2012, it was reported that Morgan had also banned actor Kelsey Grammer. Morgan himself claimed, "Kelsey Grammer saw a photo of his ex-wife Camille in the open of our show and legged it." TVGuide reported, "All plans were still a go for the segment until Grammer actually got in the hot seat and saw the footage the producers had planned to peg to the segment, including a picture of his ex-wife". On 26 September 2012, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported that "many say was an ambush by Piers". The Huffington Post reported that "before the interview was scheduled, it was made clear that Grammer would answer all questions, including those about . His sole request was not to show any images of her ... Keeping it classy, Grammer doesn''t seem at all concerned that he won''t be welcome back to Morgan''s show, which has been struggling in the ratings on CNN."

Morgan also has banned actor Hugh Grant, denigrating Grant on Twitter in May 2011: "Hugh Grant is now banned, in perpetuity, from @PiersTonight ... And anything else I ever do. Tedious little man."

Phone hacking allegations

During Morgan''s tenure as editor, the Daily Mirror was advised by Steven Nott that voicemail interception was possible by means of a standard PIN code. Despite staff initially expressing enthusiasm for the story it did not appear in the paper, although it did subsequently feature in a South Wales Argus article and on BBC Radio 5 Live in October 1999. On 18 July 2011 Nott was visited by officers of Operation Weeting.

Morgan described in a 2006 article written for the Daily Mail how he had heard tapes of messages that Paul McCartney had left for his wife, Heather Mills, on her mobile phone. Morgan wrote: "Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble – at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ''We Can Work It Out'' into the answerphone." He came under criticism for his "boasting" about phone hacking from Conservative MP Louise Mensch, who has since apologised for these accusations.

In July 2011, in a sequence of articles, the political blogger Paul Staines alleged that while editor of the Daily Mirror in 2002 Morgan published a story concerning the affair of Sven-Goran Eriksson and Ulrika Jonsson while knowing it to have been obtained by phone hacking.

On 20 December 2011, Morgan was a witness by satellite link from the United States at the Leveson Inquiry. While he said he had no reason to believe that phone hacking had occurred at the Mirror while he was in charge there, he admitted to hearing a recording of an answerphone message left by Paul McCartney for Heather Mills, but refused to "discuss where that tape was played or who made - it would compromise a source." Appearing as a witness at the same Inquiry on 9 February 2012, Mills was asked under oath if she had ever made a recording of Paul McCartney''s phone call or had played it to Piers Morgan; she replied: "Never". She said that she had never authorised Morgan, or anybody, to access or listen to her voicemails. Mills told the inquiry that Morgan, "a man that has written nothing but awful things about me for years", would have relished telling the inquiry if she had played a personal voicemail message to him.

On 23 May 2012, Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman was a witness at the Leveson Inquiry. He recalled a lunch with the Mirror editor in September 2002 at which Morgan outlined the means of hacking into a mobile phone.

On 28 November 2012, the Channel 4 documentary Taking on the Tabloids, fronted by actor and phone hacking victim Hugh Grant, showed footage from a 2003 interview with Morgan by the singer and phone hacking victim Charlotte Church, during which he explained to her how to avoid answerphone messages being listened to by journalists. He said: "You can access ... voicemails by typing in a number. Now, are you really telling me that journalists aren’t going to do that?"

On 29 November 2012, the official findings of the Leveson Inquiry were released, in which Lord Justice Leveson said that Morgan''s testimony under oath on phone hacking was "utterly unpersuasive". He stated: " evidence does not establish that authorised the hacking of voicemails or that journalists employed by TMG were indulging in this practice ... What it does, however, clearly prove is that he was aware that it was taking place in the press as a whole and that he was sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behaviour that he was prepared to joke about it."

Wikinews has related news: Piers Morgan interviewed by police investigating phone hacking

On 6 December 2013, Morgan was interviewed, under caution, by police officers from Operation Weeting investigating phone hacking allegations at Mirror Group Newspapers during his tenure as editor.

On 24 September 2014, the Trinity Mirror publishing group admitted for the first time that some of its journalists had been involved in phone hacking and agreed to pay compensation to four people who sued for the alleged hacking of voicemails. Six other phone-hacking claims had already been settled. The BBC reported that it had seen legal papers showing that although the alleged hacking could have taken place as early as 1998, the bulk of the alleged wrongdoing took place in the early 2000s when Morgan was Daily Mirror editor. The admissions by Trinity Mirror came whilst the London Metropolitan Police investigation into the phone hacking allegations was ongoing. Morgan has always denied any involvement in the practice.

Personal life

Morgan married Marion Shalloe in 1991 in Hampshire. They have three sons. Morgan and Shalloe divorced in 2008, and he remarried; his second wife is Celia Walden, a newspaper columnist and feature writer, and daughter of the former Conservative MP George Walden. Morgan and Walden married in June 2010. On 25 November 2011, the Mail Online reported that Walden gave birth at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills.

Morgan is a lifelong fan of cricket. Corresponding with Donald Bradman as a child, and being a promising early youthful fast bowler, he has played for his local side in Newick since 1978. Every year since 2000 he has organised a game between a Morgan family team and the Newick side, which includes a famous "ringer" – 2008''s ringer was then England batsman Kevin Pietersen. Morgan described the 2008 game as "the best day of my life". Morgan is a fan of Arsenal F.C.

  • Morgan, Piers; John Sachs (1991). Secret Lives. Blake. ISBN 0-905846-95-8. 
  • Morgan, Piers; John Sachs (1991). Private Lives of the Stars. Angus and Robertson. ISBN 0-207-16941-1. 
  • Morgan, Piers (1992). To Dream a Dream: Amazing Life of Phillip Schofield. Blake. ISBN 1-85782-006-1. 
  • Morgan, Piers (1993). "Take That": Our Story. Boxtree. ISBN 1-85283-839-6. 
  • Morgan, Piers (1994). "Take That": On the Road. Boxtree. ISBN 1-85283-396-3. 
  • Morgan, Piers (2004). Va Va Voom!: A Year with Arsenal 2003–04. Methuen. ISBN 0-413-77451-1. 
  • Morgan, Piers (2005). The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-190849-3. 
  • Morgan, Piers (2007). Don''t You Know Who I am?. Ebury Press. 
  • Morgan, Piers (2009). God Bless America: Misadventures of a Big Mouth Brit. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-191393-9. 
  • Morgan, Piers (2013). Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney. Gallery Books. ISBN 978-1-4767-4505-3. 

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