CNN’s Larry King Succession Plan?

The New York Times’ David Carr joins the chorus of those who think Kings time may be nearing an end…and throws dirt on John King, USA to boot. By my score, Carr is the first MSM writer to proclaim King’s show a failure…and in record time too.

No one will replace Mr. King. As Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University points out, Mr. King is part old-school broadcaster and part vaudeville act, more Ed Sullivan than Edward R. Murrow. But a segue, some kind of plan, seems merited.

“When you tune in and watch Larry King interviewing Lady Gaga and he seems to be the more Dada performance artist, that speaks volumes,” Mr. Thompson said. “Larry King has always been a bit of a punch line, but you don’t want him to become a joke.”

The struggles at “Larry King Live” have less do to with the host’s age — 76 — than the chronic, relentless needs of a daily, one-man show that tries to encompass the whole civic and cultural waterfront. Charlie Rose is 68, but he doesn’t have to fight for ratings and he is not compelled to spend quality time with a former Miss USA contestant, Carrie Prejean, if she is found to have taken her shirt off.

The bigger problem is that CNN has more than one problem. Its 7 p.m. slot with John King has failed to connect, and Campbell Brown is taking it upon herself to step away from the 8 p.m. slot because the ratings aren’t there. While Anderson Cooper has not moved the needle much, he is a core asset, on-brand and on-message, who might do better if he had a better show leading in to his.

4 Responses to “CNN’s Larry King Succession Plan?”

  1. Mike Beckham Says:

    What I don’t understand is they could have a much better line-up if they admitted they can have a balance of opinion and news at night.

    They don’t have to have a Hannity type show but people with opinions who may not always pull a party line.

    Something like this…

    CNN Newsroom until 4pm ET
    4.00: The Situation Room
    7.00: Rick Sanchez
    8.00: Spitzer & Whomever
    9.00: Larry King Live
    10.00: Anderson Cooper 360

    Boot John King back to reporting, he is beyond dull. Sanchez can be loopy but has a personality at least. Can do a newsier show at 7pm. Then get a succession plan for Larry King – and not another old school interview show maybe? So no Piers Morgan.

  2. Larry King hasn’t had a good lead in since before Paula Zahn. Larry King needs to go to 8pm following Wolf Blitzer. Everyone else can work around that.

  3. missy5537 Says:

    “Charlie Rose is 68, but he doesn’t have to fight for ratings…”

    Of course he doesn’t! We taxpayers have to pay for the crap on PBS, whether people want to see it or not.

    So much for “let the market decide”.

    Maybe I can get my cat a program, since ratings don’t matter anyway.

  4. jbflint Says:

    For what it’s worth, a column I wrote over four years ago for the Wall Street Journal about King’s declining ratings and fading interview skills.

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