Piers Morgan will no longer present a linear television show on TalkTV. Instead, he will publish directly to YouTube in a more sporadic way. As Dominic Ponsford at Press Gazette noted, this marks a major shift in strategy for the News UK-owned broadcaster, which really thought Morgan could help it make a mark in the linear space. (The slot is going to be filled by Mike Graham.)
Part of this, of course, is that TalkTV as a whole does not get huge ratings and trails behind rivals like of GB News. He’s no Mr Beast, but Morgan can get decent hits on YouTube. His channel has 2.35 million subscribers and some videos can get tens of millions of views. He recently published his 57-minute interview with UK prime minister Rishi Sunak to the channel, for instance, and has commented:
I could happily interview Elon Musk for three or four hours tomorrow and the audience would lap it up. But the nightly restriction of having to go into a studio at 8pm when sometimes there is nothing happening and literally fill time? Nobody wants that. The question becomes, why do it?
One thing to watch as we move forward is how the show generates income to cover the presenter’s substantial salary (not all of which is for his on-air work). Surely Adsense is not enough? Will he incorporate other kinds of sponsorships into his new videos?
Ultimately, though, the truth is that Piers Morgan is probably right. It is hardly a good sign for cable TV, but we know audiences, particularly younger ones, are heading to are heading to YouTube and short-video platforms like TikTok. And if more people are watching your videos online than your linear TV show, why keep making the show?