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Piers Morgan on Oprah Winfrey CNN launch help: 'You couldn't buy that'

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Piers Morgan has thanked Oprah Winfrey for her help in launching his CNN show Piers Morgan Tonight, revealing that he'd never even met her before she offered.

The former America's Got Talent judge took over Larry King's old timeslot in January 2011 and secured Winfrey as the guest for his first-ever show.

Reflecting on Winfrey's involvement in the launch, he told Jimmy Fallon: "You're trying to launch a show replacing Larry King after 25 years, it's like taking over from Elvis in Vegas!"

Oprah Winfrey

© PA Images / Paul Beaty/AP

Piers Morgan

© PA Images



Morgan continued: "I was trying to think, 'How can I make a huge bang?' Oprah Winfrey, for no reason at all really, decided to help me. She didn't know me at all. I'd never met the woman. She came on my show, gave me a two-hour interview, then went out and promoted it and told people how great it was. You couldn't buy that.

"She is the most powerful woman in entertainment and she's just really genuine. Anytime I've met Oprah since I've been struck by how real she is. To be as rich and successful and powerful as she is, and keep that common touch is really cool."

> Piers Morgan: CNN show balances news, great interviews with big stars

Morgan added that he sent Winfrey a case of "very rare French champagne" that he learned she enjoyed after the interview, recounting how she called his office to give her thanks.

"I wasn't in the office. My assistant said, 'This really weird conversation happened. She said she was Oprah Winfrey and to pass this message to Piers'. There was a silence then [drinking noise] and a clink. She said, 'Tell him I love the champagne!'"

Morgan kicked off his one-year anniversary celebrations at CNN with Chelsea Handler on Monday night in a segment which saw the tables turned and Handler interviewing Morgan.

Other guests lined up this week are Rosie O'Donnell, Jimmy Carter and Rick Santorum.

Piers Morgan Tonight airs weeknights at 9pm ET on CNN and at 8pm UK time on CNN.

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