Piers Morgan says he is leaving his job as a judge on "America's Got Talent" after six years to focus on his CNN talk show, "Piers Morgan Tonight."
The 46-year-old British television personality and former newspaper editor had sat on the judges' panel on the NBC reality show since it premiered in 2006. His CNN series premiered in January. It airs in the same time slot as "Larry King Live," which ended in December 2010 after some 25 years following the departure of Larry King, 77.
I'm leaving 'America's Got Talent' after 6 wonderful years," Morgan Tweeted late on Wednesday, November 9. "Turned out that juggling's harder than it looks, so I'm going to focus on CNN. Big thanks to NBC, Fremantle, and of course, my friend Simon Cowell, for giving me such a great opportunity. It's been a blast."
NBC representatives had no immediate comment regarding the news. The network has not announced a replacement for Morgan. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, November 10, that "shock jock" radio host Howard Stern was in talks with the network to become a judge on the show. Stern, who has publicly expressed his fondness for talent-based reality shows on the air, has not commented.
Morgan also said on "Piers Morgan Tonight" that he would be "available" to host the 2012 Oscars ceremony amid the recent departure of Eddie Murphy, which followed the resignation of producer Brett Ratner, adding: "My schedule just cleared a bit because I can exclusively reveal I'm leaving 'America's Got Talent.'"
It is unclear if such an offer was extended. Ratner resigned as the Oscars producer soon after talking about his sex life on Stern's Sirius XM radio show and after uttering an anti-gay slur at a screening of his latest film, "Tower Heist," which stars Murphy. Other celebrities have also jokingly offered to host the Oscars since organizers announced the departures earlier this week.
"America's Got Talent" is produced by Fremantle Media and Cowell's firm Syco and is hosted by Nick Cannon. The show is on hiatus until its seventh season debuts in 2012.
Morgan had recently served as the show's most acerbic judge, similar to Cowell's former role on "American Idol," alongside Brtish star Sharon Osbourne and Canadian comedian and former "Deal or No Deal" game show host Howie Mandel. Morgan also served a judge on the program's UK installment - "Britain's Got Talent."
On "America's Got Talent," Morgan was often seen butting heads with Mandel, who he dubbed "annoying." Morgan joked that Mandel, Osbourne and Cannon would probably be "very relieved to learn they will no longer have to work with me."
Mandel Tweeted in response to the news: "I guess I'm more annoying than I thought. I'll miss you @piersmorgan."Osbourne pleaded for Morgan to reconsider.
"Piers please don't go," she Tweeted on Wednesday, later adding on Thursday: "I woke up this morning, thought I had a dream that Piers resigned. Now I'm waking up to the reality. Dont go. Never thought I would say this."
Morgan responded: "I'll always love you @MrsSOsbourne - don't worry. x"
Check out a video of Piers Morgan's announcement below.