Editor's note: CNN's new interview show, "Piers Morgan Tonight," premieres tonight with Oprah Winfrey as the first guest, 9 ET on CNN/US. It premieres on CNN International at 9 p.m. ET Monday in the Americas and at 2000 Hong Kong/2100 CET on Tuesday.
(CNN) - Piers Morgan says getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to Piers Morgan.
It didn't seem so at the time, in May 2004. In fact, it was humiliating to be frog-marched out of the offices of London's Daily Mirror by security, his jacket and phone to follow later. He was the editor, the boy wonder they'd brought in to spiff up the tabloid newspaper.
"It was pretty unnerving," Morgan recalled. "I'd spent my whole career, nearly 20 years on Fleet Street, and then one minute you're there and the next you're gone."
Morgan exited amid scandal because he'd been duped into publishing faked photos of British troops urinating on Iraqi detainees. His Fleet Street rivals gleefully called it "Wee-gate."
"What the hell am I going to do now?" he asked himself.
He gathered up his mates and drowned his sorrows in liberal doses of alcohol. He collected a healthy severance and a fat advance for his tell-all "diaries." He told anyone who would listen it would take him five years slaving away as a newspaper editor to make that much money.
And then he set about reinventing Piers Morgan.
Now, at age 45, Morgan is again being cast as the boy wonder. Tonight, he takes over CNN's 9 p.m. time slot, vacated in December by Larry King.
The hyperbolic Oprah Winfrey, his first guest on "Piers Morgan Tonight," said their taped chat was her toughest interview in 20 years. "We all just went, 'Woo, what was that?' I'm not kidding. I was surprised," she told reporters at a red carpet event for the launch of her new network, OWN.
Related video: Morgan asks Winfrey about her biggest failure
"Of course I'm a little apprehensive," Morgan said of his show's debut. "But the adrenaline's flowing." He said he's confident but added, "We'll all be watching the numbers."
If you, like many Americans, are asking "Who is this guy?" you're about to find out.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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