Posted by Shirley Brady on December 14, 2010 01:00 PM
With some 50,000 interviews (TV and radio) under his suspenders, CNN will bid adieu to Larry King on Thursday night during the final episode of Larry King Live.
While his replacement, the British journalist Piers Morgan, prepares for his January debut in the 9pm timeslot that the venerable TV interviewer filled for 25 years, King tells the New York Times “the saddest part” about stepping down.
“If you look at media now,” he says in an interview, “all the hosts of these other shows are interviewing themselves. The guests are a prop for the hosts on these cable networks. The guest to me was always paramount.”
The handover comes at a time when CNN is on the hot-seat — and not just its interview subjects.
The global news brand is facing slumping ratings, a new regime in the wake of U.S. president Jon Klein's ouster, and a shake-up at flagship American Morning, where co-anchor John Roberts has confirmed his intention to get back in the field.
But Piers Morgan's executive producer, Jonathan Wald, says he's not scared of the ratings race against Fox News and other primetime competitors: "it's not enough to have fun — we want to be important, and we want to win."
One sign they're clear about who they're going after: Morgan has already announced that Madonna is banned from his show, while Lady Gaga is welcome any time. Also on his wishlist for Piers Morgan Tonight: President Obama, Mel Gibson and Jack Nicholson.