Ex-tabloid editor talks feuds, television, Madonna and more
You’re filling a prime time slot previously held by Larry King. Do you ever pinch yourself and ask: how did I get here? Probably not quite as much as other people pinch each other, saying ‘How the heck did he end up with this?’ [Laughs] But I do. Of course, I really do feel incredibly fortunate all the time.
Your first guest was Oprah Winfrey, and then you had the likes of George Clooney, Howard Stern and Condoleeza Rice. Apart from Madonna, is there anyone else you’re adamant about not having on the show? Er, I’ve added Heather Mills McCartney to the banned list. That’s more of a guilt trip really. I was the one that introduced her to Paul McCartney, genuinely. So that cupid moment by me cost him US$50 million.
We’re sure the list will grow at some point. Yeah, it’s a movable feast. And I’ve made it clear to Madonna that if she goes down on bended knee in Times Square I may have her back on. But that’s the criteria I’m afraid.
You spent many years as a print journalist and more recently moved into television and broadcast. Was that a natural progression? It is if you get fired [Laughs]. My print career came to a rather dramatic end, as most people know, and once you’ve been an editor for as long as I have you don’t fancy going down the food chain.
You have been described by many people as ‘arrogant’, ‘self-obsessed’ and a ‘bully.’ What do you say to these people’s claims? I don’t think I’ve been called a bully.
You were recently asked on CNN what you would do with a billion dollars. You replied: ‘I’d buy the biggest yacht in the world and invite Scarlett Johansson to… comfort her’. Definitely, that’s a standing invitation to Scarlett, of course. That just goes without saying.
I’m sure she can’t wait. Well, I absolutely can’t, but I think my wife’s keener I do wait [Laughs]. Piers Morgan Tonight airs nightly on CNN at 12am. To find out who his forthcoming guests are go to www.piersmorgantonight.com.