“Piers Morgan Tonight” Debut Watched By More Than 2 Million Viewers

Piers Morgan made his debut Monday night in the 9 PM hour on CNN, filling the timeslot left vacant by Larry King, and the show brought in more than 2 million viewers for the network.

The former tabloid editor and original "Celebrity Apprentice" winner came in second behind Fox News Channel's "Hannity," by a few hundred thousand viewers. Piers came in above MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."

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His ratings in comparison to Larry King's were high – bringing in a jump in audience by 219% over CNN's fourth quarter average in 2010.

Piers was no doubt helped in his stellar ratings by his first guest – Oprah Winfrey – who opened up about a number of the topics she's addressed in the media lately, including her friendship with Gayle King, her childhood ambition to become a fourth grade teacher, and how much she's given to charity (at her estimate, more than 0 million).

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Piers Tweeted live during his first show, giving Twitter readers updates over what topics were coming up in his pre-taped interview.

"Watch Oprah's eye contact - she never looks away from me," he wrote.

At another point, Piers Tweeted Michael Vick, asking him to say, 'Yes' to his interview request. Piers Tweeted "Hey @MikeVick - how about it? I'll cut you in for 0," after he and Oprah – who is also pursuing a sit-down with the football star who was jailed for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring – made a wager over who would get him first. Piers and Oprah bet 200 British pounds.

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The Brit then went on to reTweet a host of praise he received for his interview, and when Ryan Seacrest asked his own followers for their opinions on Piers' debut, Piers chimed in himself, calling it "brilliant."

On Tuesday morning, Piers went wild on Twitter over his reviews, asking his followers to help him find a bad review of his show.

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"Come on, I need a REALLY rough one. A review so vile it's going to make me go and jump off Brooklyn Bridge, after immolating myself," he wrote.

What he eventually found was a meek adjective he took issue with.

"OK, reviews deteriorating nicely now. New York Times says I'm 'timid'. WHAAATTT???? Never had such despicable slur," he Tweeted.

For Tuesday's show, Piers has lined up a pre-taped interview with Sirius XM shock jock Howard Stern. On Wednesday, he'll have Condoleeza Rice. On Thursday, he reportedly is bringing in controversial Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, in another pre-taped interview. Friday's show will feature father / son humanitarians Nick and George Clooney.

In related Piers news, he recently told Entertainment Weekly that he has added to his "Banned List." Heather Mills, whom Piers claimed he introduced to Paul McCartney, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, Tony Blair's wife Cherie, and his fellow "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel have all joined Madonna as unwelcome guests.

Piers opened up to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush last week, revealing for the first time, why Madonna got a lifetime ban from his show.

"Madonna and I, we've never really seen eye-to-eye," Piers said. "There was a bread roll throwing incident in London in the mid '90s; there was an incident at a hotel in the south of France [at] the Cannes Film Festival involving a photographer and a bodyguard; there's been an incident involving a pub owned by her recently departed husband, Guy Ritchie, where my brother was the manager."

But that isn't the only reason she's been banned. Piers claimed he lost a scoop on a Madonna story due to her rep.

"You know the worst thing Madonna did to me? Madonna's publicist once said to me, 'Listen to me, Madonna is not pregnant,' when I was running a newspaper. And I said, 'Are you sure?' She said, 'Listen to me, Piers. Madonna is not pregnant.'

"The next day, they announced [the news] on a rival newspaper's website," Piers continued. "There's a series of crimes."

A rep for Madonna's rep did not respond to a previous request for comment from Access over Piers' claim.

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