CNN's King says he's ending show after 25 years
By DAVID BAUDER (AP) – 1 hour ago
NEW YORK — Larry King, who has interviewed statesmen and stars from a prime-time perch at CNN for 25 years but has seen his ratings sag recently, said Tuesday that he will step down this fall from his nightly show.
"It's time to hang up my nightly suspenders," King said in a message sent to fans via Twitter.
King said he will do occasional specials for CNN. He recently reached his 25-year anniversary and takes pride in a Guinness Book of World Records citation for hosting the longest-running show on the same network in the same time slot.
The long-time radio host was a pioneer in cable television, his desk considered a valued spot to sit for anyone interested in talking to the nation. King's interview style was plain-spoken and critics would suggest occasionally ill-prepared, but he was good at making his guests feel comfortable and ready to talk.
King said he felt no pressure from CNN to leave. He said he began thinking about stepping down as his 25th anniversary week ended earlier this month, on the airplane home after interviewing basketball star LeBron James. During that week, he also spoke to Bill Gates, President Barack Obama and Lady Gaga — an apt example of the mix that he always sought on his show.
"I said, `I can't top this,'" King said in an interview Tuesday.
"I'm tired of the nightly grind," he said. "I do want to do other things but I want to stay at CNN in some way ... There's a case of great mixed emotions."
King told his staff during a conference call Tuesday that he called "one of the saddest 10 minutes of my life."
As cable news audiences gravitated toward politically pointed shows and newsmakers found many more outlets for interviews, King slipped behind Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in the ratings. During his interview with Lady Gaga, the 76-year-old broadcast veteran had people wondering if he was really connecting with a pop star a half century his junior.
He's conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews during a 53-year broadcasting career.
He said he always tried to ask short questions, never come in with an agenda and "I left my ego at the door."
"I never learned a thing while I was talking," he said. "That would be my motto."
CNN is in the midst of remaking its prime-time lineup and last week announced that former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and conservative columnist Kathleen Parker would co-host an 8 p.m. EDT show on politics and current events.
CNN executives often have said that when "Larry King Live" ends, it won't necessarily be replaced by a similar show. Recent published reports have suggested that "America's Got Talent" judge Piers Morgan could be a candidate for a show in that time slot. CBS' Katie Couric has been considered a potential successor, although that talk has cooled lately.
King said if it was up to him, Ryan Seacrest would be the best choice to fill his shoes.
He dismissed a series of stories this spring questioning his future and speculating about possible successors.
"You can't worry about things you can't control," he said. "I can't control if a newspaper is going to speculate about something or if a blog is going to speculate ... If I let it get me, I'll go nuts. So what I try to do, and I'm not being morbid, I just try to do the best show I can. If it works, it works."
King said he was able to see the baseball all-star games of his sons this weekend. If it was during the week, he'd miss them.
"I'm never going to see these again," he said. "They're not going to repeat themselves. They're 11 and 10. They're not going to be 11 and 10 again."
There were definitely times that I really enjoyed his shows, but I was never a fan of episodes that involved tabloid front-burners. Some of the political folks he brought in were interesting - I think they came because he wasn't going to whack 'em - but he didn't necessarily let them slide away from questions that interested him.
Some of the shows featuring old school entertainers were fun.
I'll miss having him as an option, though there's no doubt that I don't watch him the way I did 10 - 15 years ago. Now it might be once or twice a month, maybe.
I'll miss having him as an option also, although I found him to be a rather softball interviewer who really didn't press his guests too hard or try to delve too deeply with penetrating questions. I agree, ehbeth, that may have been why many of them were willing to come on his show.
Lately, King's own life has become a tabloid front-burner. Most recently, his 7th wife made a suicide attempt, amid rumors that King had an affair with her sister. He does have two young children, and sorting out his personal life may be a priority for him right now.
I get rather tired of the relentless political bent of the other two cable networks, and King's show was a nice alternative to that, although it left him trailing in the ratings. Also, by the time he gets many of his guests lately, they've made the rounds of all the other shows, and there isn't much left for them to reveal. Still, I probably watch him once or twice a week.
I do think that King's show has occupied a particular niche, and I wonder what CNN will do with his time slot. They seem to be re-vamping their prime time line-up. I wonder if they will even bother with another hour long interview show.
HuffPo had a column about King's leaving and CNN's dismal ratings. I'm not sure what they could do at this point to improve them...Piers Morgan and (lol) Ryan Seacrest are rumored to be contenders for King's spot.
I saw a ratings report a few months ago that had the Cartoon Network beating CNN (Toon was #13 and CNN #32 lol) in prime time, and CNN was next to last in daytime ratings.
I think they will try to find someone to fill his slot, someone interesting to be the lead-in to Anderson Cooper's 360, which also does really badly in the ratings game.
but i will miss opie & anthony playing audio from his show and mocking him for his asinine questions
one of my favourites, during his interview with the women who was raped by phillip garrido, she gave him a ride while she was picking up groceries, she describes how garrido was in the front seat holding the groceries, directing her where to go, when she pulls over he slammed her head into the steering wheel and told her if she co-operated she wouldn't be hurt, king asks the hard hitting question, "where was the food at this time?"
They should give Stewart both Larry and Cooper's time-slots LOL. Guaranteed ratings.
Thu 1 Jul, 2010 07:09 am
I didn't watch LKL, but I learned from him about the dangers of xanax. That drug was supposed to be the ultimate one for calming and sleeping, and it turned out to be as bad as any illegal drug.
Thu 1 Jul, 2010 01:37 pm
Seinfeld has a little fun with Larry.........
Fri 2 Jul, 2010 03:15 pm
I guess Larry is going to have the last laugh when his pants fall down or would it be the ladies?
Thu 26 Aug, 2010 05:47 am
larry king is a douche
in his interview with dr. laura, he mentions that various races get a pass for "kidding" (jesus larry, just because you were born in the 1800's you could try to drag yourself into the modern age) each other, but it's not all right for a "non- N- person" to say the "N" word
so it's all right for the "N" people, i believe they prefer black or african american in this century
the end can't come fast enough for both these creeps (and not just the end of their careers)