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Piers Morgan, on Eve of CNN Show Debut, Pegs Ratings Benchmark at 650,000 Viewers, Far Below Fox News and MSNBC NY Times

Piers Morgan has set his ratings benchmark for his new CNN show, which debuts tonight, at 650,000 viewers, in line with predecessor Larry King's ratings in his final months but far below the direct competition on Fox News and MSNBC, Brian Stelter of the The New York Times reports.

According to the story, Morgan said he believes his role as a judge on "America's Got Talent," which is a top-rated TV show during the summer, will help guide more viewers, and perhaps bigger guests, to his program

The story notes that a lot is riding on Morgan: while CNN is profitable, the network has lost more than a third of its viewers and "Piers Morgan Tonight" is its biggest attempt at turning around the trend, Stelter writes.

The article says that the network is hoping that viewers still want to watch long-form interviews with politicians and stars, although the ratings of "Larry King Live" would indicate otherwise. But Stelter writes, Morgan is "in many ways the anti-King — obnoxious, obsessively prepared and eager to tape his interviews in advance as often as he can."