Larry King drew 2.24 million viewers for his send-off last night, posting a rare time slot victory for his departing primetime talk show. King barely edged the 9 PM’s dominant player, Fox News Channel’s Hannity (2.16 million) in total viewers, but Hannity prevailed in the adults 25-54 demographic (543,000 vs. 530,000 for King). MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (874,000, 252,000 in 25-54) was third. King’s finale audiCNN Ratings, TV, Cable TVence more than tripled the 700,000 viewers he had been averaging this year. His ratings built throughout the final week with 458,000 total viewers on Monday, 587,000 on Tuesday and 935,000 for his penultimate episode featuring Barbra Streisand.
He may have gotten out of touch, he may have been famously unprepared for his interviews, and he may have been responsible for his show hemorrhaging viewers to average underwhelming 700,000 a night, but Larry King is still an institution. After more than 25 years and about 50,000 guests, the 77-year-old interviewer tonight will host the final installment of Larry King Live, his primetime talk show on CNN. More than a dozen guests are expected to stop by, including King’s pals Ryan Seacrest, whom he tipped as his potential successor, and Bill Maher. Here a reel with some the highlights of his tenure on the show put together by CNN. It includes the famous 1993 debate between Al Gore and Ross Perot that drew a record audience of 20 million, as well as King’s live coverage of the O.J. Simpson car chase and the Marlon Brando kiss. It doesn’t include the lowlights, like when he confused Ringo Starr with the late George Harrison in a 2007 interview with the surviving Beatles members. Or when he got ripped by Jerry Seinfeld for suggesting Seinfeld might have been canceled (above).