The New York Times Media Decoder blog reports that Larry King Live will come to an end sometime this fall. Larry King’s nightly news program may come to a halt, but he’s not swearing off remaining with the network in a limited capacity. In his initial CNN blog post, King said, “I’ll still be a part of the CNN family, hosting several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects.” I like the way that he refers to the specials using his own name.
His negligible impact on this generation notwithstanding (my most vivid Larry King memory is the Letterman bit about him looking like an owl), King’s a remarkable figure in the cable news world. Larry King Live apparently holds the Guinness world record for longest running show (twenty-five years) with the same host in the same time slot. A lot of qualifiers there, sure, but it’s a remarkable feat considering how television’s changed since King started a quarter-century ago.
The NY Times story mentions CNN’s declining ratings, including ratings for Larry King Live, citing the rise of partisan news programming (your FOX News, your Keith Olbermann, your Jon Stewarts to a certain extent) as a likely cause. In an interview prior to the Guinness induction, King said, “We’re in a wave of opinion,” and “I’ve never brought my opinions to the show.” He knows he’s an odd man out, and now it’s time for him to get out.
Who will carry the nonpartisan torch when the Owl King leaves us? Anderson Cooper? Maybe. But he’s got plenty of opinions (not that I disagree with him).