But Morgan has refined his taste for conflict. “My instinct as a newspaper editor was to declare war,” he says. “I used to like feuds. I’ve actually, I wouldn’t say grown up, because it’s a bit ridiculous when you’re 46 to say that, but I’ve become less concerned with wasting energy on feuding.” Even Morgan’s frosty relationship with Jeremy Clarkson, who punched him three times, leaving a permanent scar on his forehead, is on-again, off-again. And he recently shook hands with A. A. Gill for the first time in four years, at Murdoch son-in-law Matthew Freud’s Christmas party. “It wasn’t exactly Potsdam,” Morgan says, “but it was a start.” Since his arrival at CNN, Morgan’s feuds are jokier and feel made to monetize; in an interview of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane last week, he went out of his way to try to bait Jon Stewart, leaked a promotional clip, and finally tweeted about MacFarlane’s “beef with Jon Stewart.”
Morgan says he is very much enjoying living in second-chance America. “There’s a dust-yourself-down, get-on-with-it, call-people-out, be-brutally-honest streak that Americans love in Simon Cowell, love in Gordon Ramsay,” he says. “They like their Brits to be a certain way, and I fit that mold, I think, and that’s why CNN was quite smart to capitalize on that sentiment, which is when a British accent is saying these things, it’s more acceptable.” If Morgan appears to have handled the past year with considerable aplomb—and managed to self-medicate his nocturnal anxieties with fine French wine—it could be because, dating back to his tabloid years, he has a well-tuned and ever-present sense of lifes reversals. His Twitter motto is: “One day you’re the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster.”
*This story has been updated to correctly reference the Fourth Estate.