Anderson Cooper's Beef With Piers Morgan, Explained

Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan may not be the first two celebrities you think of when you think of feuding famous faces, but they have quite the beef that goes back years. The drama appears to have started when both men were working at CNN. Cooper's one of the network's most famous journalists and is still with the network as of April 2024, while Morgan hosted "Piers Morgan Tonight" from 2011 until 2014. It was the year Morgan left the network when he made his thoughts on Cooper clear, and needless to say, they were less than complimentary.

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan trashed his former co-worker and admitted he told CNN's president at the time, Jeff Zucker, that he thought Cooper should be replaced by Megyn Kelly, who actually turned down a CNN contract. "[Cooper] is stiff in a studio and gets annihilated in the ratings every night by [Bill] O'Reilly," Morgan wrote of his ex-coworker.

But that wasn't all. Speaking to Politico that same month, the former "America's Got Talent" judge suggested "Piers Morgan Tonight" following Cooper's show may have been one of the reasons it ended, as he claimed it wasn't a great lead in. "Anderson is a great field reporter, but does he drive big ratings at CNN outside of a big news cycle? I don't see any evidence of it," Morgan said. He added, "I think he's pretty good at what he does. But was he the golden boy everybody thought he was? I didn't see much evidence of that in ratings."

Piers Morgan admitted he didn't click with Anderson Cooper when they worked at CNN

Piers Morgan isn't afraid to go too far on TV, so it's no surprise he had more to say about Anderson Cooper. Proving October 2014 really was "bash Cooper" month, Morgan also trashed the news anchor to "Access Hollywood." "I don't get on that well with Anderson, never had that much to do with Anderson," Morgan said (via Mediaite). "There's a kind of healthy rivalry at CNN between many of the anchors and we were not cut from the same cloth by any means. So, I think there was a slight tension there anyway," he added.

Not long after, CNN called Morgan out for his comments. The network's spokesperson hit back to Politico, making it very clear the network was very firmly on Cooper's side. "For the two-and-a-half years that 'AC 360' served as the lead in to Piers Morgan's program on CNN, it always delivered a higher rating than Piers' program. And for the seven months that Piers Morgan's program led into 'AC 360,' '360' always delivered a higher rating than Piers' program," the statement read. "It is sad that Piers is trying to find a new job by misrepresenting how he performed in his old one." Politico also claimed "Piers Morgan Tonight" had been cancelled because of poor ratings, while it's worth noting "Anderson Cooper 360" is still airing on CNN as of April 2024, more than 20 years after its first episode.

Anderson Cooper clapped back at Piers Morgan, too

Following CNN going to bat for him, Anderson Cooper clapped back at Piers Morgan too. Cooper poked fun at Morgan during CNN's "New Year's Eve Live" on December 31, 2014, a few months after Morgan cut ties with CNN. On the show, Kathy Griffin (who Cooper's since ended his friendship with) recalled how Morgan once photobombed her. Cooper shadily responded (via Deadline), "Piers who?" and accused Morgan of trying to entice him into a social media war. "Listen, I hope he gets a job, one day. I hope he finds gainful employment someday," Cooper added, before telling Griffin, "I don't think anyone really cares about what he has to say." But Cooper wasn't done there. He also quipped of his former co-worker, "This is the most airtime that guy has gotten in a year."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that wasn't the end of this drama. Morgan has referenced his issues with Cooper a few times since then, including in 2016 after being asked on X, formerly known as Twitter, who he didn't get along with at CNN. Morgan responded, "Oh, I couldn't possibly say... Anderson Cooper." Six years later, he was at it again. Morgan again called out Cooper in December 2022 on "On Air with Kara Swisher," stating he found working at Fox friendlier than working at CNN. He said of the latter, "A lot more back biting, a lot more backstabbing, actually, in some cases. Don't want to mention names, but Anderson Cooper knows where he is."