Larry King announced his retirement last night, stepping down as the host of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” the show he has helmed for 25 years. It comes as a shock and disappointment to many in the industry who made bets that he would die first.
“Larry King Live,” the centerpiece of the CNN prime-time schedule, has seen its ratings drop sharply in recent years, particularly in the last six months, leading to widespread talk that Mr. King’s current contract, which will expire in June 2011, could be his last. Asked by Bill Maher, his guest on his Tuesday night show, about the speculation in the media, Mr. King said “that had nothing to do with it.” He said he approached CNN management about the change and they “graciously accepted.”
It will give “more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games,” he said on his show. Mr. King and his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick, reunited in May after having filed for divorce a month earlier. [NYT]
In case you’ve gotten King’s wives confused, Southwick is the one who filed for divorce after King allegedly slept with her sister. But in her sister’s defense, who can resist a frail, stooped septuagenarian? I smell moist panties!
Anyway, Piers Morgan, the ”America’s Got Talent” judge and meat-scented cologne model is widely rumored to be King’s replacement, which I guess is fine. It’s not like King was performing brain surgery every night. He lobbed softball questions at famous people. It’s not like CNN execs need to scrutinize candidates. “What are the British guy’s qualifications?” “Well, his first name is a plural noun.” “Works for me.”