Is Larry King On the Outs in 18 Months?
Speculation is rising that late night talk powerhouse Larry King will be hanging up his 'Live' mic when his current contract with CNN expires in 18 months. If he does retire, which King himself has revealed little interest in doing, there is no shortage of potential successors waiting in the wings.
Rumored contenders to take Larry's chair include 'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest, network anchors Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric, CNN correspondent John King and co-host of 'The View', Joy Behar.
Each of the potential replacements has a complication, according to a report by the New York Post.
Seacrest has signed a multi-year $45 million mega deal to continue hosting 'American Idol.' Sawyer has just been named to replace Charles Gibson at the helm of 'ABC World News' after a lengthy courtship. Couric is inked to anchor 'CBS Evening News' until 2011. King currently works with CNN but his profile is largely in the political realm. Behar is just starting as a host of a new show on HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, after co-hosting 'The View.'
Potential replacements have not be forthcoming with their intentions. "I really don't know, is the honest answer." said Couric in response to questions about her future.
CNN is being nothing but supportive of King. "Larry is at the top of his game," an unnamed CNN rep told the Post. "He gets the best newsmakers of anyone on television, and his ratings lead over MSNBC's [Rachel] Maddow has never been wider," the source added.
"Larry has the full intention of continuing in the job he loves, and he's very confident about the future." said Howard Rubinstein, King's spokesperson.
King himself shows no reservation about continuing "I'm signed through 2011 . . . then we'll see," said King. "I should retire? Retire to what? If I didn't work, I don't know what I'd do. I'll probably fall over right on the set one night."
Larry King, 75, has hosted 'Larry King Live' since 1985. It is the longest running program on CNN as well as its most watched. It regularly attracts over one million viewers. Oprah Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign on the show.
Hannah Johnston, Getty Images
Michael Buckner, WireImage
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