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CNN Cancels ‘John King USA’

CNN is canceling its 6 PM program “John King USA,” and replacing it with an extra hour of “The Situation Room.” John King will become CNN’s lead national campaign correspondent for the remainder of the election cycle, though that is clearly not as plum a gig as having an hour-long nightly program.

In a memo to CNN staff obtained by TVNewser, CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz explained the move:

“John will be providing reports for SitRoom, AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign, fourth with CNN, and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”

Joe Johns and Suzanne Kelly

CNN also made some other changes in its Washington bureau, naming Joe Johns crime and justice correspondent, and Suzanne Kelly intelligence correspondent.

The New York TimesBrian Stelter first reported the King news.

“JK USA” launched in March 2010, leading up to the midterm elections. Originally at 7 PM, it moved to 6 PM when Erin Burnett joined the network. The program–which focused heavily on politics–failed to catch on with viewers, although it saw a slight uptick during the heat of the current Presidential campaign.

Jautz’s full memo to staff is below.

TO: CNN Colleagues

FROM: Ken Jautz

DATE: June 13, 2012

I wanted to inform you of a change we are making to bolster our political coverage heading into the critical stretch of the 2012 campaign. Beginning next month, John King will shift roles and become our lead national campaign correspondent. As a result, Situation Room will air from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and John will be providing reports for SitRoom, AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign, fourth with CNN, and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.

Additionally, we are expanding our news coverage in Washington. With landmark decisions on the horizon, I’m very pleased to announce that Joe Johns will be taking on a new role as the CNN Crime and Justice Correspondent, covering the Supreme Court and the criminal justice system. Joe, who holds a law degree, has received national recognition for his crime and law enforcement reporting in DC. We are also expanding our coverage of national security and we will be adding a new correspondent to the Washington Bureau. Senior Producer Suzanne Kelly will become CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent covering national security and the intelligence community. Suzanne is an acclaimed author who published a detailed account of Blackwater’s role in the Iraq War.

These changes will help us provide groundbreaking reporting and more depth of coverage of the important issues facing our viewers. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Ken

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