By:
September 17, 2021

Well, here’s a shocker. (Yeah, that’s sarcasm.) Piers Morgan is going to work for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Media.

I’ll give you a second to recover.

Morgan, who walked away from ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” earlier this year after he was criticized for his awful commentary about Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will host a nightly show for Murdoch. It will air on soon-to-be-launched talkTV in the U.K., as well as the streaming service Fox Nation in the U.S. and Sky News Australia. It will debut in early 2022.

Morgan is someone I call a “pots-and-pans banger.” He bangs pots and pans together — not to make an intelligent or meaningful point, but just to make the loudest noise possible. And if you watch Fox News during prime time or read some of the stories in the New York Post, you know that fits right in with Murdoch’s brand.

Anyway, Morgan joining Murdoch after huffing, puffing and stomping his way off “Good Morning Britain” comes as a surprise to absolutely no one.

Morgan tweeted a photo of him sitting next to Murdoch and wrote, “I’ve gone home. Great to be rejoining Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation after 28 years. The place I started my media career, with the boss who gave me my first big break. We’re going to have a lot of fun…”

In addition to hosting a show, Morgan also will write two columns a week for the New York Post and U.K.’s The Sun — both also owned by Murdoch. Also, look for Morgan to show up on Fox News now and then.

In a statement, Morgan said, “I want my global show to be a fearless forum for lively debate and agenda-setting interviews, and a place that celebrates the right of everyone to have an opinion, and for those opinions to be vigorously examined and challenged.”

Translation: I’m going to bang my pots and pans and if you don’t like it, go pound salt.

I’ve never found Morgan to be as open to other opinions as much as he simply wants to get his opinion out there — and the more controversial the better, in his mind. Just go look at some of his comments about tennis player Naomi Osaka.

After Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Morgan was critical of their comments and said he didn’t “believe a word” of what Meghan said. Those comments drew more than 57,000 viewer complaints. When a co-host on “Good Morning Britain,” Alex Beresford, pushed back against Morgan, Morgan stormed off the set — hardly a celebration of everyone’s right to have an opinion.

In a statement, Murdoch said, “Piers is the broadcaster every channel wants but is too afraid to hire. Piers is a brilliant presenter, a talented journalist and says what people are thinking and feeling.”

Not sure every channel wants Morgan, but his bombastic and trolling style should fit right in with Murdoch’s outfit and will likely have lots of followers.

Abrams takes a poke at cable news

Dan Abrams’ new nightly newscast on NewsNation — called “Dan Abrams Live” — debuts Sept. 27 and he has a new promo out that explains what his show is and what it isn’t. And he had a little fun explaining it at the expense of other cable news shows.

In the spot, Abrams walks in front of three actors who resemble anchors sitting at their anchor desks. One is even wearing a bowtie, a la Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

Abrams then says, “So many cable news hosts are playing a part, like you guys are. I get it. You feel the heat to pick a side, pick a party. Too much riding on this for you to be honest about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Well, I’m not going to cheer for a team. I’m also not going to fake objectivity. I’m gonna be honest with our viewers about what I think and let them decide.”

Abrams gave a statement to Ken Meyer of Mediaite, which was founded by Abrams. Abrams said, “We had written this promo to be a broad critique of cable news hosts today and not targeting specific anchors. But when I arrived at the shoot, I was surprised to see that three actors had been hired who looked exactly like Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson. Now Don is a friend, I’ve known and liked Tucker for years and Rachel and I used to work together, but my relationships with them weren’t the issue. I said to the folks producing it that when I offer critiques of named hosts, which I will do regularly, I want it to be on specific issues or comments, not broad criticism. So as you can see they put them in the shadows so it was more me talking to the cable news industry. But I have to say, the promo team did a great job and I give them credit because it was pretty hilarious seeing these three actors being referred to as Don, Tucker and Rachel!”

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Noticias Telemundo’s new anchor

Julio Vaqueiro. (Courtesy: Telemundo Network News)

Julio Vaqueiro has been named anchor of “Noticias Telemundo” on NBCUniversal’s Spanish language network. He takes over the 6:30 p.m. Eastern newscast after having anchored the late-night newscast, which debuted last year. He has been with Telemundo since 2017, and has covered the pandemic, the 2020 election and immigration stories from the border.

He said in a statement, “It’s an honor to be able to continue serving the Latino community now as the anchor of our main newscast where we chronicle the most important issues impacting Hispanics through insightful reporting and great storytelling.”

Vaqueiro replaces José Díaz-Balart, who anchored “Noticias Telemundo” for 12 years before moving over to MSNBC as a daytime anchor earlier this month.

Who are Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik?

That’s the question. Here’s the answer: the two hosts of “Jeopardy!” for the rest of the year.

The popular game show will try to make the best of a messy situation. By now, you know the story. Executive producer Mike Richards essentially named himself as the permanent host to replace the late Alex Trebek, but that blew up in his face when The Ringer’s Claire McNear dug up a bunch of troubling sexist comments that Richards made on an old podcast. That, along with the really bad optics of Richards’ role in picking Trebek’s replacement, led to Richards stepping down as host and then leaving the show entirely.

So now “Jeopardy!” will go with Bialik and Jennings, at least until the end of 2021. Bialik had already been chosen to host “Jeopardy!” specials this season, while Jennings was assumed to be the leading contender for Trebek’s job from the beginning.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Rick Porter reports that Bialik’s episodes will run from Sept. 20 through Nov. 5, and then she will split hosting duties with Jennings for the rest of the season. Bialik, who also is doing a sitcom for Fox, is believed to be the front runner for the permanent job if “Jeopardy!” can work around her schedule. But the next few months could go a long way in determining how it will ultimately play out.

Like Richards, some of Jennings’ past comments, particularly several now-deleted tweets, have some “Jeopardy!” fans unhappy that he continues to be a part of the show.

Fox to MyPillow Guy: no thanks

The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng and Maxwell Tani with this scoop: “Mike Lindell Repeatedly Tried to Get Ads Back on Fox. They Keep Rejecting Him.”

You might remember that Lindell, an ardent Trump supporter who keeps promoting baseless claims about a rigged election, pulled his ads from Fox News. He was upset because Fox News refused to run an ad promoting his “cyber symposium” that perpetuated more unproven allegations of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Suebsaeng and Tani reported that Lindell reached back out to Fox News in August in hopes of running ads again on the network. But Lindell says Fox News rejected new ads for FrankSpeech — Lindell’s attempt at a social media website. “They still didn’t like that the ‘cyber symposium’ was still mentioned,” Lindell said.

Since then, including this week, Lindell has offered up several other ads for FrankSpeech, but Fox News has rejected them. This has happened at least four times, with the latest happening Wednesday.

On Thursday, Lindell told The Daily Beast, “They said I couldn’t mention the words ‘Frank’ or ‘FrankSpeech.’ It was the fastest reply we’ve gotten. But if I removed the words ‘FrankSpeech’ it might have cleared, but it would have just been a MyPillow ad, which I said I’m not doing! ‘Outrageous!’ I told them to tell Fox, ‘Shame on you!’”

Actually, good for Fox News for refusing to acknowledge Lindell’s outrageous claims.

On assignment

(Courtesy: NBC News)

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has a special out Sunday night. “On Assignment — Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires” airs at 10 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC.

In this episode, Engel follows the journey of U.S. Sergeant Louis Loftus. In 2010, Loftus and his unit were attacked by the Taliban. Engel visits Loftus and chronicles his struggles with PTSD and drug abuse after returning to his home in Akron, Ohio. Engel also interviews former CIA station chief Gary Schroen, who ran the operation to hunt down Osama Bin Laden; Inspector General John Sopko, about the cost spent on reconstructing Afghanistan; and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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