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Pierce Morgan is the face of TalkTV

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I.T WAS A a somewhat difficult evening for lovers of humiliation. In his first prime-time show on TalkTV, a broadcast and streaming channel that launched on April 25, Pierce Morgan said, “As Nelson Mandela might say, it’s been a long road to freedom of speech!” His first-night interview with Donald Trump may be the only person in the world who can make Mr. Morgan look shy. But the presenter was not hired for possessing euphemisms. His task is to bring this to the attention of existing British TV channels.

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TalkTV is the latest addition to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. In 2018, his attempt to take full control of Sky, the European paidTV the giant failed, for the first time in decades the tycoon had no stake in the British Broadcasting Company. He thought of investing in GB News, the right-wing news channel that began broadcasting in June 2021. GB News avoided clashes with Ofcom, the broadcast regulator that enforces impartiality rules, but largely collapsed in the rankings.

Warm welcome for GB News may seem like a bad signal for another channel that is talking. But talkTV has some important benefits. First, it’s the huge amount of journalism that News Great Britain, the British division of News Corp, already produces. In addition to TalkRadio (a telephone station whose shows are simultaneously broadcast on the new channel), its sports brother TalkSport and high-ranking radio Times Radio, the company publishes newspapers including Hours and The sun. “Journalistic talent already in the building in Naviny Great Britain can be deployed even more, ”says Douglas McCabe of research firm Enders Analysis.

Second, talkTV focuses on online platforms. Hosts sound on camera, creating viral content, along with which the channel hopes to sell advertising. The transition to social platforms has helped LBC, TalkRadio ‘s largest commercial competitor. Videos of her presenters and guests travel on social media much further than audio clips, helping to make her the fastest growing talk radio station in Britain.

In Mr. Morgan, talkTV has a third major asset. The presenter has a knack for spectacle. His interviews with Mr. Trump were watched by an average of 317,000 people (more have seen him online). That’s twice as many who tuned in BBCThe news channel at the same time, and almost a third more than the launch looked GB News. Nick Newman of the Reuters Institute for Journalism Research at Oxford University notes that while viewers often say in polls that they value impartiality in the news, the success of stations such as LBC shows the importance of entertainment too. Speaking of whichTV if mixed up properly, it could persuade the British to abandon more restrained news channels.

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