Breaking: CNN’s 9 p.m. host Larry King has announced that he will be leaving his nightly talk show this Fall. King, who has been a staple on CNN for 25 years, will transition to a part-time role at the network, hosting occasional specials tied to breaking news and events.
King will discuss his decision during tonight’s edition of “Larry King Live.”
Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. 25 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.
Update: Memo from CNN U.S. President Jon Klein and a CNN network statement after the jump. Klein says King will “end his run with Larry King Live on his own terms, sometime this fall.” Video after the jump…
More – 9:07pmET: After King’s announcement his guest, Bill Maher said, “I hope you’re doing this of your own volition and not because of what the media said.” King: That had nothing to do with it, there was no pressure from CNN. I don’t pay any attention to that.” Maher: “As long as it’s coming from you and not dictated by The New York Times or anybody else.”
More – 9:44pmET: Maher: “Who do you want to sit there after you go?” King: “I can’t be objective because I don’t know his interest in politics, but Ryan Seacrest … He’s curious, he’s interesting, he’s likable.” Maher: “But I never… knew.. maybe he is interested in politics, but isn’t that, like, a key part of the job?” King: “That’s what I mean. 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.”
More – 9:50pmET: Anderson Cooper: “I just heard the news that you’re scaling back at CNN and hanging up the suspenders, as you said. And I’m stunned and sad.” King: “Well. We’ll be around a while. And, want to do other things.” Maher: “Anderson did you engineer this coup?” Cooper: “Listen, I’ve been in the Gulf for six weeks and I don’t know what’s going on beyond here.”
More – 9:52pmET: Nancy Reagan phoned in. “You didn’t call me and ask my permission.” King: Nancy you’re awfully sweet. We’ll get the whole gang together, the wife and everybody and we’ll do lunch.”
More – 9:53pmET: Regis Philbin then called in. “Larry I’m totally surprised by this, and, for some reason, I feel badly about it … there’s always been a Larry King.” King: “When are you gonna leave the daily grind?” Philbin: “Well, I feel like leaving the same time you do, at this point.”
More – 9:59pmET: ABC’s Diane Sawyer phoned in at the end of the show. “I just want to say what a monument of vitality you have built for all of us, and I cannot wait to see your specials because everybody in the world wants to talk to you, and to see you do them in a concentrated way when you choose to do them is going to be a thrill … we love and honor you.”
TO: CNN Colleagues
FR: Jon Klein
Larry King has asked that I share with you a message to his audience that will be broadcast tonight at the top of his show. After 25 years, Larry has decided to take a step back from the nightly grind. He wants to take some time for himself and his family. So he will end his run with Larry King Live on his own terms, sometime this fall.
He is not leaving CNN. Larry is a beloved member of the CNN family and he will continue to contribute to our air with periodic specials.
Larry has been a giant in the industry for as long as most of us can remember. Anyone who ever mattered has sat for an interview on Larry’s iconic set. They all know the man it is our privilege to call our colleague and friend–tireless and curious, respectful and inquisitive, caring, generous, influential, a citizen of the world.
We will celebrate his tenure in proper fashion over the coming months. Today is about Larry and about the beginning of a new chapter. It is not about good-bye.
CNN also released a network statement:
Just as CNN redefined the news business, Larry King defined the art of the television interview. His candor, curiosity and compassion are legendary, and his ability to interview people from all walks of life — world leaders, celebrities and everyday people — has made him an icon. Having conducted nearly 50,000 interviews over 50-plus years in broadcasting, Larry deserves to take some time for himself and his family. After 25 years at CNN, he will conclude Larry King Live on his own terms, sometime this fall. We are proud and grateful that Larry will continue the next chapter of his storied career at CNN and will host several specials over the coming years.
Today is about Larry. We will announce plans for the 9pm hour in the weeks ahead.
It also came the same day as the Q2 ratings, which saw “Larry King Live” seeing the biggest drop-off of any CNN show.