Piers Morgan’s new talk show, Piers Morgan Tonight, premieres Monday (9 p.m. ET) on CNN in the same time slot that Larry King used to occupy, and the British journalist admits he’s “a mixture of emotions.”
“I feel like a NASA astronaut just before liftoff,” the journalist-turned-America’s Got Talent judge says. “It’s very exciting, but you’re also aware that you’re going into [unknown] territory. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Morgan, 45, will interview Oprah Winfrey on his inaugural episode – a huge get, he says.
“The two most powerful people in America are President Obama and Oprah Winfrey,” he explains. “They would be amazing interviews.”
Morgan will also be chasing after other types of celebrities for his show. “You can’t go wrong with genuinely world class A-list movie stars [like] George Clooney,” he says. “They’re intelligent as well as talented and I think when you get that combination, you always have an intriguing and interesting time as an interviewer.”
And while he’s comfortable talking to politicians, tycoons, inventors and reality stars alike, other dream interviews include mega-hot superstars (think Justin Bieber) or celebs looking for redemption (he’s looking at you, Mel Gibson).
“Michael Vick right now would be a great interview,” he says. “He’s an incredible comeback story.”
Morgan will be shooting mainly in New York, but will also do stints in Los Angeles and London.
“I love New York,” he says, adding that his favorite spot is Central Park. “It’s one of the most powerful cities on earth in terms of concentration of wealth and power, and decisions that get made in New York and Washington are decisions that have ramifications around the world.”
And while he loves the L.A. beach scene, he’s not a fan of the “false politeness” he sees on the West Coast – and nothing can compare to his hometown of London.
“London is a magical city,” he says, adding that his wife, Celia Walden, and his children from a previous marriage – Spencer, 17, Stanley, 13, and Albert, 10 – still live across the pond. “And I miss cricket … and country pubs.”
For now, though, he’s staying focused on his show – and creating a brand of his own.
“I wouldn’t want to try to emulate [Larry King] or his style, because it’s like following Frank Sinatra in Vegas,” he says. “I’ll try to develop my own style and I hope in the end I can bring you an entertaining show that is popular.”