The ratings are in: how did Piers stack up?

Alyssa Moody Contributor
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CNN’s highly-anticipated new show “Piers Morgan Tonight” premiered last night to 2.1 million viewers. So how did his numbers rank among the competing cable news networks?

His ratings crushed MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” by over one million viewers, but failed to surpass the reigning king of the 9pm timeslot, “Hannity.” Fox News’s powerhouse Sean Hannity boasted 2.4 million viewers; 599,800 of which fell into the coveted 25-54 demographic.

Morgan’s numbers were nevertheless impressive for CNN’s primetime average. “Larry King Live” had an average of merely 674,000 viewers in 2010. However, King’s final episode boasted 2.2 million viewers, and Morgan’s premiere ratings fell short of his predecessors farewell show.

Monday‘s episode of “Piers Morgan Tonight” featured an interview with Oprah Winfrey, and the remainder of the premiere week will feature a variety of similarly high-profile interviews. He welcomes infamous radio personality Howard Stern tonight.

However, Piers may see a significant spike in his already high ratings when he interviews British comedian Ricky Gervais on Thursday. Gervais hosted the 2011 Golden Globes on Sunday, and has received a great deal of press for his controversial performance. Gervais’ interview with Morgan will be his first interview since his now infamous performance at Sunday’s award show, and his reaction to the controversy is highly-anticipated.

Will Morgan’s interview with Gervais attract enough viewers to steal Hannity’s crown? Stay tuned.