The end of a television institution is upon us: Larry King is stepping down from the primetime show that has anchored CNN’s lineup for a quarter century.
The embattled newsman — who has waged war against a divorce scandal and his wife’s attemped suicide in recent weeks — has announced that he is leaving the ratings-plagued cable news network only weeks after rumors surfaced that CNN bosses were looking to replace the 76-year-old with British TV star Piers Morgan.
King had a lengthy career is radio before joining CNN and launching Live in 1985. The show has recently been suffering in the ratings and there’s been speculation about the future of its host.
“It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders,” Larry told fans in an update to his Twitter page on Tuesday afternoon.
“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,” King says in a statement.
He added: “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….”
CNN also issued a statement on Larry’s departure, in which the network praises the veteran on his two decades of service: “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 lifeâ€”world leaders, celebrities and everyday peopleâ€”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.”
King will host his final episode of Larry King Live in November.
Are you disappointed to see Larry go, or is a new plain-spoken late night pundit just what CNN’s been missing?