The Watchman: Piers Morgan Mingles With Murderers, Valderrama Pals Around With Puppets - Broadcasting & Cable

The Watchman: Piers Morgan Mingles With Murderers, Valderrama Pals Around With Puppets

Deputy editor Michael Malone's weekly look at the programming scene
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Oxygen's "Serial Killer with Piers Morgan"

Serial Killer with Piers Morgan kicks off on Oxygen July 16. Morgan, former host of Piers Morgan Live on CNN, sits down with psychopaths and sees what they’re thinking now and when they killed years ago. The first couple of episodes feature Mark Riebe, who confessed to the killing of a dozen women, and Lorenzo Gilyard, known as the Kansas City Strangler.

“They all have very different personalities and very different stories,” Morgan said.

In terms of their common ground, Morgan mentions a hunger for control. “They didn’t like it when they lost control of the interview,” he said.

Morgan likens his role to that of an FBI agent or a criminal lawyer, looking to probe deep into the convicts’ minds — as he puts it, “dissect and unlock stories.”

The main reason Morgan took on the project, he said, was to bring satisfaction to the families of the victims. The killers, for the most part, did not testify in court, so Morgan said the relatives find a little relief when they witness someone calling the murderers out for their crimes. “A lot of the families are grateful that I do it on their behalf,” he said.

While Oxygen hasn’t yet committed to a full season, Morgan said he’s up for taking on more killer sit-downs. “If the first two go well, I could see myself doing a lot more of these,” he said.

Fuse's "The Hollywood Puppet Show"

On a lighter note, season two of The Hollywood Puppet Show starts on Fuse July 17. Wilmer Valderrama is creator, host and executive producer. The show features celebs coming on and telling outrageous, and true, stories, which are reenacted by marionettes.

Guest stars include Marlon Wayans, YouTube star Lilly Singh and rapper Nick Cannon. Valderrama cited Wayans for spinning a particularly fun yarn. “He just really gets how to tell a story,” Valderrama said.

The appeal of the show, Valderrama said, is that celebs don’t usually get to tell their fun, and perhaps lengthy, stories to the press. Hollywood Puppet Show lets them go long. “We thought it would be a really fun ride to take their fans on,” said Valderrama, promising a chance to “see these artists like you’ve never seen them before.”

The puppeteer re-enactments, he added, are a “funny, cool way to complement someone’s story.”

Valderrama, of course, starred in That ’70s Show. In this era of reboots, he said there have not been conversations about bringing that comedy back.

“I love the show and I love the characters,” he said. “But it’s premature to think of a reboot.”

Valderrama does not rule out the possibility. “I’m sure at some point that conversation happens,” he said.

Serial Killer with Piers Morgan kicks off on Oxygen July 16. Morgan, former host of Piers Morgan Live on CNN, sits down with psychopaths and sees what they’re thinking now and when they killed years ago. The first couple of episodes feature Mark Riebe, who confessed to the killing of a dozen women, and Lorenzo Gilyard, known as the Kansas City Strangler.

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