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Talk TV, the current affairs discussion channel owned by News UK and Rupert Murdoch, is facing an uncertain future and fight for survival following the departure of its most high-profile presenter Piers Morgan this week.

Piers Morgan announced he was stepping away from Talk TV, in what turned out to be his final programme for the channel on Thursday 8th February, to instead continue his Uncensored programme exclusively on YouTube, where he has over 2.3 million subscribers.

Guido Fawkes reports that Morgan was "sacked" by Murdoch after failing to pull in the ratings to justify his salary. Sources suggest to TV Zone that Morgan's shift to YouTube is a way for Morgan to see out his contract with News UK before other options are considered by both sides.

The news of Morgan's departure has sparked fresh concerns over the future of Talk TV as an entity, with sources telling TV Zone the channel now expected to reduce its linear offering and gradually provide visual programming exclusively online, which could lead to the closure of its linear channel.

TV Zone understands there are two rebrand options being considered. Rebranding to simply 'TALK' whereby programmes are produced for radio, with selected programmes being streamed on YouTube and other social media platforms. A second option is 'The Sun TV', which will aim to entice The Sun's wider readership to tune in.

The new version of Piers Morgan's programme will be a YouTube-first broadcast with news-making interviews, heated debates and fiery monologues. Morgan will continue his relationship with News UK (the owners of Talk TV) with his new show, with selected interviews still airing on Talk TV.

Piers Morgan told Semafor: "I’ve just decided that I no longer want to create my show for linear television - I just want to go full digital globally. There’s something quite anachronistic about a show like mine still trying to create old fashioned TV for a pre-scheduled time slot each night for a relatively small audience - when we’re getting such gigantic audiences digitally."

Scott Taunton, executive vice-president of broadcasting for News UK, said: "More and more, audiences are consuming video news and opinion online through their phones and this evolution is set to continue. It’s also where the advertising revenues are...

"Creating professional quality, TV-like video that does well digitally - via streaming services and social media - will be the focus of future investment for all our brands, including Talk."

Piers Morgan Uncensored relaunches on YouTube from Monday 19th February. Talk TV is available on Sky channel 522.


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