Oprah Winfrey is Piers Morgan's first CNN guest

piers-morgan-cnn-320.jpg Piers Morgan will kick off his new show on CNN with a big get for a first guest: None other than Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey will go one-on-one in the debut of "Piers Morgan Tonight" Jan. 17 on CNN. Morgan revealed the news Thursday (Jan. 6) at the Television Critics Association press tour. He acknowledges that Winfrey has been doing lots of interviews lately, but he still calls her "one of the two or three most brilliant gets in the world."

"The fact that she's got her own network now makes it even more compelling," Morgan says. "It's the biggest gamble of her career, as she said to me."

Unlike the show Morgan is replacing, "Larry King Live," Morgan will pre-tape many of his interviews. He still wants to go live when breaking news calls for it, but he also thinks that being able to promote his show beyond "Tonight our guest is ..." will help in the ratings.

"I have to say CNN's problem [recently] was not Larry, but the fact that it's hard to promote live interviews," he says. Pre-taped shows, he says, will allow CNN to ramp up the buzz by releasing clips, quotes and partial transcripts.

As for the Winfrey interview, it took place in a "top-secret location," executive producer Jonathan Wald says -- because the show's standing set is still being built. Morgan's studio will emanate from New York for most of the year, then move to Los Angeles when he's moonlighting as an "America's Got Talent" judge.
Photo/Video credit: CNN