Update 25 April 2022:
Ahead of the launch, Press Gazette’s William Turvill asked Morgan about the fact he is believed to be earning around £15m per year, as we reported in January.
“Am I!?” Morgan squawked down the phone.
Well, Turvill said, at least according to a report by Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford.
“Ha,” cackles Morgan, who doesn’t correct the figure. “You really shouldn’t believe what you read in Press Gazette!”
Original story 10 January 2022:
Piers Morgan returned to the Murdoch empire today with a new Sun column and salary that makes him almost certainly the UK’s highest paid journalist.
Press Gazette understands that the figure of around £50m over three years being paid to Morgan, as quoted by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, is correct.
In exchange Morgan will write columns for The Sun and New York Post and front a nightly TV show. Press Gazette understands the Morgan programme will air in the UK on News Corp’s soon-to-be-launched TalkTV and in the US and Australia.
The Morgan deal dwarfs previous top salaries paid to UK newsroom stars and reflects the huge audience Morgan brings with him, helped by his nearly 8m following on Twitter.
Morgan will also present a series of true crime TV documentaries to be aired across News Corp’s broadcasting portfolio and he will publish his next book with Murdoch-owned Harper Collins.
Morgan’s personal stock has risen during the pandemic. He realised the severity of coronavirus early on and was an advocate for quick government action on lockdown. Since then he has been a forthright critic of the government’s handling of the pandemic.
His first “Uncensored” column in The Sun today signifies the extent of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s current political woes.
The Sun had previously been Johnson’s most reliable supporter on Fleet Street.
But today, in the form of a letter, Morgan said that despite knowing Johnson for more than 30 years and liking him personally – “you’re a shambles”.
In the column, Morgan describes Johnson’s early handling of the pandemic as “a disaster, with deadly dithering and shameful failings”.
Piers writes: “You’ve waltzed through life telling brazen whoppers to escape punishment whenever the manure’s hit the fan either professionally or personally, but you can’t do it now that you’re Prime Minister.”
Morgan said ahead of his first column launching that it was “called ‘Uncensored’ because it does what it says on the tin.
“I want to express what Sun readers are thinking, and no topic is off-limits. It was a pretty bruising experience on Good Morning Britain but I’m now working somewhere where I’m free to express my opinions.
“I want to single-handedly lead the charge around the world to end cancel culture.”
Morgan’s comeback to News UK comes 27 years after he left the News of the World to edit the Daily Mirror. Before becoming News of the World editor in January 1994 he was the editor of The Sun’s showbiz column Bizarre – hence today’s Sun front-page billing for Morgan: “Yes, he’s back.”
Morgan left his job as joint host of GMB in March 2021 after calling Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, a liar and then refusing to back down when asked by ITV management. It is a statement he has repeatedly doubled down on since.
Morgan’s News Corp comeback was personally negotiated by the company’s proprietor and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch.
The Sun reported that within hours of the announcement of Morgan’s return to News Corp on 16 September, the company’s market cap rose $400m, although it is has fluctuated widely since then.
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