Piers Morgan received a warm reception when he stepped into the shoes of CNN legend Larry King, interviewing Oprah Winfrey for his first Tonight show.
The former Daily Mirror editor was hailed as “high-energy, enthusiastic, effusive, playful, fascinated” by one US newspaper after the debut of his show on the US channel.
An approving reviewer on the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “Morgan asked questions he knew (Winfrey) did not wish to be asked and although she seldom answered them, he made sure she was always refusing, in the process, in spite of herself, revealing very much indeed…
“If he shows the judgment, skills and news sense he showed Monday with the toughest first-night assignment a TV talk-show host ever had, he’ll make people forget Larry King even more quickly than they already have.”
He was given a second thumbs up by US magazine Entertainment Weekly, whose television critic Ken Tucker hailed him as “clever, tenacious, vain, a flatterer, and fitfully funny”. He added: “Simply by having facts about his subject at hand and speaking coherently, Morgan aced King on his opening night.”
The one-time British tabloid man also appeared to impress the American chat show queen, who told him “You’re good” when he asked her how many times she had been “properly in love”.
She confessed that she had been in love three times, adding that her heart had been broken “only two times”.
At the end of the show, Morgan asked her: “How have I done?”
Winfrey answered: “You have been surprising and that’s a good thing because who doesn’t want to be surprised?”
During the interview she revealed that she had an inner circle of five or six people who she would trust “no matter what”; that she did not consider herself a tough boss and did not shout nor allow people around her to shout; and that she was happier now than she had ever been.