Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan is an English broadcaster, journalist, writer, and television personality. He began his Fleet Street career in 1988 at The Sun. In 1994, aged 29, he was appointed editor of the News of the World by Rupert Murdoch, which made him the youngest editor of a British national newspaper in more than half a century. From 1995, Morgan edited the Daily Mirror, but was sacked in 2004. He was the editorial director of First News during 2006 to 2007.
As a television presenter, Morgan has previously hosted the ITV talk show Life Stories from 2009 to 2021 as well as the CNN chat show Piers Morgan Live from 2011 to 2014. Morgan also co-presented the ITV Breakfast programme Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid from 2015 to 2021, and was a judge on both America's Got Talent (2006–2011) and Britain's Got Talent (2007–2010). In 2008, he won The Celebrity Apprentice US appearing with future US President Donald Trump.
In September 2021, it was announced Morgan would join News Corp as a presenter on their new television channel TalkTV and as a columnist for The Sun and New York Post. Morgan will present Piers Morgan Uncensored weeknights from 25 April 2022.
Morgan was the editor of the Daily Mirror during the period in which the paper was implicated in the phone hacking scandal. In 2011, Morgan denied having ever hacked a phone and stated that he had not, "to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone". The following year, he was criticised in the findings of the Leveson Inquiry by chair Brian Leveson, who stated that comments made in Morgan's testimony about phone hacking were "utterly unpersuasive" and "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's outspoken views and controversial comments on Good Morning Britain led Ofcom to adjudicate on multiple occasions. On 9 March 2021, Morgan left the programme with immediate effect, following his criticism of the Oprah with Meghan and Harry interview. Ofcom received over 57,000 complaints from viewers, including a complaint from Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, herself; Morgan was subsequently cleared of wrongdoing by Ofcom.
Early life and education
Morgan was born Piers Stefan O'Meara on 30 March 1965 in Surrey, the son of Vincent Eamonn O'Meara, an Irish dentist from County Offaly, and Gabrielle Georgina Sybille (née Oliver), an English woman who raised Morgan Catholic. With regard to his religious views, Morgan still identifies as a Catholic due to his mother's influence, and believes in an afterlife, but does not "go to Confession, probably because it would take him too long". He has a brother, Jeremy, who is older than him by two years. A few months after his birth, the family moved to Newick, East Sussex. His father died when Morgan was 11 months old; his mother later married Glynne Pughe-Morgan, a Welsh pub landlord who later worked in the meat distribution business, and he took his stepfather's surname. He was educated at the independent Cumnor House prep school between the ages of seven and 13, then Chailey School, a comprehensive secondary school in Chailey, followed by Priory School, Lewes, for sixth form. After nine months at Lloyd's of London, Morgan studied journalism at Harlow College, joining the Surrey and South London Newspaper Group in 1985.
Morgan's career expanded into television presenting before he left the Daily Mirror. He presented a three-part television documentary series for the BBC titled The Importance of Being Famous (2003), about fame and the manner in which celebrities are covered by modern media. At the annual Pride of Britain Awards broadcast on ITV, Morgan chaired a panel of prominent people who had chosen the recipients of the awards from 1999 to 2006.
He co-hosted a 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 reputedly 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 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 the BBC charity telethon Comic Relief. After his team lost, Morgan was selected by Sir Alan Sugar as the contestant to be fired.
In 2007, Morgan 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 ITV with Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.
He also presented You Can't Fire Me, I'm Famous on BBC One. He fronted a three-part documentary about Sandbanks for ITV entitled Piers Morgan on Sandbanks in January 2008.
In 2008, Morgan signed a two-year "golden handcuffs" deal with ITV in May, reportedly worth £2 million per year. As part of the deal, he 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.
In February 2009, he began a three-part series, Piers Morgan On..., which saw him visit Dubai, Monte Carlo and Hollywood. The programme returned for a second series in 2010 when Morgan visited Las Vegas in one episode.
In 2009, Morgan also began hosting Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV, with Sharon Osbourne as the subject of the first episode. Other guests on the programme included Cheryl and the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
On 17 January 2011, Morgan replaced Larry King in CNN's evening line-up with his show, Piers Morgan Live. After poor ratings, the show was cancelled in February 2014 and ended its run in March 2014. Commenting on the viewing figures, 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."
From 13 to 17 April 2015, Morgan guest-hosted five episodes of Good Morning Britain on ITV and became a permanent co-host in November 2015, appearing alongside Susanna Reid and Charlotte Hawkins. He often clashed with Reid, who said of her colleague: "You can't help but go into battle with him every morning". Morgan left the series in March 2021 following a controversy over his remarks about Oprah with Meghan and Harry, which included a heated on-air argument with Alex Beresford.
From 2016 to 2017, Morgan interviewed female murderers on the TV series Killer Women with Piers Morgan. He also presented Serial Killer with Piers Morgan, as part of the 2017 Crime & Punishment season on ITV. In October 2018, Morgan appeared as a cameo on Hollyoaks.
On 16 September 2021, News UK announced its new channel talkTV would launch in 2022, with Morgan being the first name signed up.
Morgan was the winner of the U.S. celebrity version of The Apprentice in 2008. He was eventually the overall winner, being named Celebrity Apprentice by host Donald Trump 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. Morgan was called "ruthless, arrogant, evil and obnoxious" by Trump in the final.
Morgan stated he personally would not vote for Trump in the 2016 United States presidential election (though as a permanent resident of the United States, not a citizen, he is not qualified to vote). He predicted Trump's election as President of the United States and described himself as a close friend. Morgan interviewed Trump on Good Morning Britain in March 2016.
Morgan appeared on ITV's Loose Women panel show in late January 2017, and was challenged to repudiate Trump. He refused to do so, despite stating that he disagreed with him on many issues relating to gun control, climate change, abortion, and the "Muslim travel ban", saying that he found the principle of the ban understandable, but disagreed with "the way Trump has gone about it".
Nearly a fortnight later, on the American talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, Morgan said "There is no Muslim ban", as "85% of the world's Muslims are allowed in the country". Another participant in the discussion, Australian comedian Jim Jefferies, immediately swore at Morgan and criticised his defence of Trump. After the novelist J. K. Rowling tweeted "Yes, watching Piers Morgan being told to fuck off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I'd always imagined", the two began an exchange of words on the social media site.
Morgan criticised Trump after Trump had retweeted Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the small far-right fascist party Britain First, in late November 2017. He tweeted to Trump: "What the hell are you doing retweeting a bunch of unverified videos by Britain First, a bunch of disgustingly racist far-right extremists? Please STOP this madness & undo your retweets".
In January 2018, Morgan presented President Trump – The Piers Morgan Interview for ITV, which many thought of as "sycophantic" and a "love-in" for Trump. Of respondents to a Radio Times Twitter poll, 88% viewed Morgan as being not "tough enough" on Trump. Morgan interviewed Trump again in July 2018 during his official visit to the UK, this time on Air Force One during an internal flight, in a TV special entitled Piers, The President and Air Force One.
In December 2018, Morgan wrote a letter to Trump formally applying to become White House Chief of Staff.
During Trump's state visit to the United Kingdom in June 2019, Morgan once again interviewed Trump, this time at the Churchill War Rooms.
In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan wrote a highly critical article of Trump's handling of the crisis in his column for MailOnline. Morgan particularly took issue with Trump's suggestion of looking into "ingesting" disinfectant as a possible solution, describing it as "batshit crazy". In response to the criticism, Trump unfollowed Morgan on Twitter.
In the aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Morgan stated that Trump was "mentally unfit" to remain as president. He claimed that the pandemic and Trump's election loss that followed had "sent him nuts". In response to whether he regretted his support of Trump, Morgan said "No question. I never thought he was capable of this."