The debut of CNN’s "Piers Morgan Tonight" drew 2.1 million viewers on Monday evening, more than triple the network’s average audience from the end of 2010, when "Larry King Live" drew to a close, reports the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog.
During the fourth quarter of 2010, "Larry King Live" averaged 657,000 viewers in the same time slot, generally placing CNN third among cable news channels, the story notes. With Morgan’s strong debut, CNN placed second, behind Sean Hannity on Fox News, who interviewed Sarah Palin that evening and averaged 2.36 million viewers, according to the piece. MSNBC dropped to third place, with Rachel Maddow, who interviewed Michael Moore, averaging 1.11 million viewers.
The piece points out that Morgan’s debut had been heavily promoted by CNN and his first guest was Oprah Winfrey, a guaranteed draw. "Of course, the true test for Mr. Morgan will come not on night one or night two, but weeks and months from now," the article notes.