CNN host Piers Morgan slides into the seat across from me. We are sitting in a booth in a (relatively) quiet corner of the CNN Grill in Charlotte. Seconds after he arrives, a server brings over a cheeseburger for Morgan, who just finished a Q&A on Wolf Blitzer‘s show. During the RNC and DNC the CNN Grill has become a meeting place for media types. While there is a set in the restaurant, it feels more like a bar than a TV studio. Morgan says he feels right at home.
“I grew up in a pub, my parents ran a country pub, I owned a pub in London until recently, so doing interviews in a bar is perfectly natural, I have been spouting rubbish in bars all my life.” he quips. ” I quite like the idea of a grill too, grilling politicians. I think it is something we might adopt.”
Shorty after we sit down, Star Jones walks over to the booth to talk to Morgan about her appearance on tonight’s show.
For Morgan, the conventions have been an chance to showcase a more fun, less formal side of TV news.
“I don’t know how many cable news shows have pints of beer siting on the desk,” he says. “We have had some great guests, and lively end of the evening debate. It has been quite cool to ramp up the proceedings over a few pints with smart people, and having the kind of electricity of being in a bar and doing it live while it has been packed. It is actually quite exciting, I have really enjoyed that.”
He also cites his primetime newsmaker interviews as something he is particularly proud of during the conventions.
“To be the go-to person for the big interview hit is really important to me, because that is what I think I can bring to the network as well as anyone else,” he adds.
The conventions also allow a chance to grab guests you wouldn’t otherwise be able to secure. Morgan says he has two big, boldface names still on his list.