Programming

Piers Morgan Tells B&C About Christine O'Donnell's Walkout

CNN host - who had dined with her months ago - doubts it was a publicity stunt, thinks O'Donnell will "be embarrassed" when she watches 8/17/2011 07:48:39 PM Eastern

CNN's Piers Morgan tells B&C Christine O'Donnell's Wednesday night walk-off probably wasn't a publicity stunt, will be good for his ratings, and will probably leave O'Donnell "embarrassed" when she watches what took place.

That's the Brit's reaction to the walk-out by O'Donnell, the former Delaware Senate candidate who is currently promoting her book, "Troublemaker." She abruptly ended an interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight Wednesday that was taped to air on that evening's show. O'Donnell declined to answer Morgan's questions about gay marriage, and then bristled when Morgan asked her why she wouldn't talk about the subject. Then suddenly, it was over.

"We watched it back and it was just so odd," Morgan said in a phone interview Wednesday from Los Angeles, where he had conducted the interview via satellite. "She was getting some kind of signal from her people off camera, then this woman in our New York studio just jumped in front of the camera."

Morgan admitted he was totally caught off guard by what happened. In fact, the two had actually met under very friendly terms in the past. They had breakfast together in New York before his show started, a meeting that was arranged by Morgan's representation, John Ferriter of Octagon. At the time Ferriter was working with O'Donnell on a few potential television opportunities.

That is part of the reason Morgan says he was so baffled by her reaction.

"From an interviewing standpoint, I don't think there was anything that would constitute rudeness," he said. "The issue of gay marriage is clearly significant in the wake of (the popularity of) Michelle Bachmann. I wasn't asking about to it to be outrageous, I just assumed she would have a standard answer for it since she wrote about it in her book. It was bizarre."

And Morgan had some choice words for O'Donnell's assertion that Morgan should not have asked her about it in the first place.

"I can't believe she can think - as not at all a frontline politician - that she can dictate to CNN the terms of an interview," he said.

Morgan says that he will invite her back for a live appearance on Thursday's show. And while he doesn't expect her to say yes, he is hopeful.

"I've learned never to be surprised. I would if I were her. I think she will watch it back and be embarrassed."

Morgan says that while he doesn't think it was a publicity stunt by O'Donnell to sell books ("I didn't get that feeling but you never know," he said), he knows the sure-to-be-viral video should be good for his own show.

"Of course!" he acknowledges. "I'm not complaining!"

 

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