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The End: Final ‘Larry King Live’ Airs Tonight

Nellie Andreeva

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).

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Piers Morgan Talking To Jonathan Wald To Executive Produce New CNN Talk Show

Piers Morgan is making good on his promise to Deadline that he was “about to” lock down his new CNN show’s Executive Producer. I’ve confirmed that hard news veteran Jonathan Wald, the former CNBC topper who left last year after taking the business channel to new ratings highs, is in negotiations with Morgan and the new CNN head Ken Jautz to lead the news channel’s replacement show for Larry King Live. (Broadcasting & Cable reported this first today.) Trust me, he won’t come cheap. But it’s hard for me to imagine that, given all his experience, Wald would be content running just one show when he’s been in charge of entire programming schedules. I can’t help but wonder if this is a way in for Wald at CNN which certainly could use his proven ability to get cable news ratings and keep them. Read More »

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How CNN Botched Larry King’s Exit From His Talk Show & Search For His Successor

Nellie Andreeva

CNN-logoFor someone who has been the face of the network for the past 25 years, you’d think CNN would have handled the departure of veteran Larry King with a little bit more dignity and respect. But a series of CNN blunders have surrounded both King’s exit from his talk show and the search for his successor. First, the network started feeling out potential replacements long before King announced on June 29th that he would be leaving the show in November. In theory, that’s larry-kingnot a bad idea — Larry King Live had been the cornerstone of CNN’s primetime lineup, and management had to secure a strong successor in the 9 PM slot before it let King step down. But it was also a very risky strategy as proven by the June 12th leaks in UK papers that America’ Got Talent judge Piers Morgan, a Brit, was finalizing a deal to replace King. It was a blow to Larry, who had just celebrated his 25th anniversary at CNN and deserved a proper send-off.

But there was more humiliation in store for the veteran talk-show host. Instead of organizing the piers morganannouncement of King’s exit in the two weeks following the first wave of Piers Morgan/CNN stories, the network waited until June 29th, the day the Q2 ratings come out. CNN knew they wouldn’t be pretty: King already … Read More »

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SURPRISE! CNN Talking To Joy Behar About Replacing Larry King

TV Behar HLN ShowA day after Larry King officially announced he will leave his CNN primetime talk show after 25 years, we hear the cable news network is in talks with Joy Behar to replace him. Behar has been one of the strongest internal candidates to succeed King. Her The Joy Behar Show on HLN (formerly known as CNN Headlline News and CNN2) has been the brightest spot on CNN’s mostly grim ratings report. It had the most growth of any primetime CNN show in Q2 among total viewers, up +39%. For comparison, CNN top anchor Anderson Cooper’s ratings were down -30%, King’s down -37%. Behar was also a regular fill-in for King on his show, a stint that led to her getting her own show on HLN.

A deal with Behar would go against King’s wishes. On his show last night, the veteran interviewer reiterated his support for Seacrest as his successor. “He’s curious, he’s interesting, he’s likable,” King said of the American Idol host. “If he has a great interest in politics, I would recommend him. But I’m sure there’s a ton of people who could do it. Come on, it’s Q&A.” Among those people is America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan who, according to British papers, had been in talks for King’s job. CBS Evening News host Katie Couric’s name also has been part of the mix, with conflicting reports on whether she is interested or not. … Read More »

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So Who’ll Succeed Larry King On CNN?

Nellie Andreeva

What a sad day for Larry King. First, the Q2 cable ratings were released in the early afternoon, with CNN posting another double-digit year-to-year drop led by Larry King Live, which drew a mere 677,000 viewers and posted CNN’s biggest year-to-year demo loss of -37%. A couple of hours later, King announced that he will leave his nightly talk show in the fall after 25 years. (Larry King Stepping Down From CNN Talk) Year-to-date, King’s viewership is down -43%. On any network, such huge ratings declines would warrant a cancellation. But Larry King Live continued to be CNN’s top-rated program.

If Larry King had his way, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest would succeed him. “He’s curious, he’s interesting, he’s likable,” King told guest Bill Maher tonight. “If he has a great interest in politics, I would recommend him. But I’m sure there’s a ton of people who could do it. Come on, it’s Q&A.” Still, it’s very telling that two reality stars, Seacrest and America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan (who was tipped by the British press two weeks ago as King’s replacement), are in the running for the most prestigious show on a network dedicated to news and politics. CBS Evening News host Katie Couric’s name also has been part of the mix, with conflicting reports on whether she is interested or not. Her contract with CBS is up next year. Inside CNN, the two obvious candidates are Joy Behar, whose talk … Read More »

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Larry King Stepping Down From CNN Talk

CNN-logoFrequent showbiz interviewer and newsmaker Larry King announced today he’ll exit CNN “Larry King Live” after 25 years on air. His last show will be in November but he’ll produce quarterly specials afterwards under his new contract. Here is King’s statement:

larry-king“Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. Twenty five years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live. Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games. I’ll still be a part of the CNN family, hosting several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects.

“I’m incredibly proud that we recently made the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot. With this chapter closing I’m looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring, but for now it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.”

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