Party Notes: 'Piers Morgan Tonight'

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A week before his first show, CNN boss Ken Jautz and Daily Beast editor in chief Tina Brown feted Piers Morgan with a party to celebrate the launch of his new primetime hour Piers Morgan Tonight at the Upper East Side home of Brown and husband Sir Harold Evans.

Among the media elite in attendance Tuesday night were CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, The Huffington Post editor in chief Arianna Huffington, IAC chairman Barry Diller and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, new ABC News chief Ben Sherwood, This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour, TV host Charlie Rose, CNN programming chief Bart Feder and Piers Morgan Tonight EP Jonathan Wald.

Brown began the evening’s remarks, saying that while American audiences may know Piers from America’s Got Talent, she has always known him as a great editor, (from his time as a tabloid journalist in the UK) and described him as having “a great nose for news.”

CNN boss Ken Jautz, arm in sling (which he joked was a result of an arm wrestling match with Piers — “Who knew he was as tough as he says he is?”), spoke of the new host’s aggressiveness in booking guests and desire to win.

Jautz then tuned the mic over to Piers who thanked his hosts and entertained party guests with anecdotes about his relationship with his former boss Rupert Murdoch (“I wish you good luck, but I do not wish you success” Murdoch said to him last week, regarding the launch of his show) and running into Bill O’Reilly in the VIP suite at a recent Knicks game (after the Fox News host blew him off, he came groveling back with a request to take a photo with his daughter, an America’s Got Talent fan).

As for his new show, which debuts Jan. 17, he spoke of his team’s desire to put on a great program and the good time he’s had doing it so far, saying, “If we fail, it won’t be for a lack of effort, or for a lack of having fun.”