Piers Morgan vs. Larry King… how to get off on the wrong foot

Posted January 18, 2011 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

Piers interviews OprahIn my experience, when it comes to making career moves, it’s always advantageous to have small shoes to fill. But sometimes, you run into a big, fat pair of size 14’s and you have to overcome being intimidated by your predecessors reputation and just go for it. Piers Morgan, who has succeeded Larry King in the late night talk spot on CNN, is finding himself sliding around in some size 14 loafers right now. Morgan debuted last night with a big ticket guest – none other than Oprah Winfrey – and then managed to completely lose credibility in last seconds of the show by trying way, way, way, too hard.

Many years ago, Sally Field uttered the cringe-inducing lines “you like me, you really like me”, when she won her Oscar for Places in the Heart. She’s never lived it down.

At the end of his interview with Oprah, Piers Morgan babbled: “how have I done here?”

To which she responds “you were surprising.”

He then quickly interjects “surprisingly awful?”

Yikes… it was painful to see a grown man groveling for a compliment. And, being self-deprecating made him look really insecure and uncomfortable (which was evident through the interview as well… every time Oprah said “that’s a great question” he got all excited and cut her off). Definitely trying WAY too hard.

I had to wonder if the whole pressure of trying to live up to Larry King’s legacy got to Morgan. Or was it the “awe” of interviewing Oprah? Who knows, but it was really uncomfortable to watch and not a great first impression.

Watching it reminded me of the Oscar Wilde quote: be yourself, everyone else is taken. We’re all far more effective when we do what we feel we need to do vs. doing what we think someone else would have done.

So, next time you find yourself staring down into a big pair of shoes to fill, take a deep breath and remember that you wouldn’t be putting your socks in those shoes if someone didn’t think you had the potential to fill them.

Happy leading!


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