CNN announces John King as permanent replacement for Lou Dobbs in early 2010
John King, the host of CNN's Sunday program State of the Union, has been named as the permanent replacement for outgoing 7 p.m. weeknight anchor Lou Dobbs, who abruptly resigned Wednesday after more than 25 years working at the cable newschannel.
The choice of King, a former reporter for the Associated Press who has steadfastly avoided the opinionating many anchors indulge on cable news, answers one of the biggest questions CNN faced when Dobbs' departure was announced.
Given CNN's sagging primetime ratings and the success of rivals featuring more opinionated shows in prime time, some wondered if Dobbs' departure would give the channel a chance to change its middle-of-the-road approach.
(it may also offer a statement on the advantages of mastering new technology early; King distinguished himself during the 2008 elections by nimbly handling CNN's touch-screen video wall display during election returns and political analysis segments.
Scheduled to start early next year, King's show is expected to focus on politics and analysis -- it remains to be seen how this show would be different than the show airing right before it, Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room.
Until King debuts, the channel plans to feature a rotating lineup of anchors at 7 p.m.
And CNN expects to replace King as host of the Sunday State of the Union program, though no name has been released yet.
The speed of the King announcement also hints this was something CNN management may have seen coming; lending credence to news stories saying Dobbs had met with the channel's executives several times.
Click below to read CNN's release:
John King to Helm New Daily Political Program on CNN
CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King will take the helm of a new weeknight political program to air on CNN at 7 p.m., beginning early next year, it was announced today by Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/U.S.
As one of the nation’s leading political reporters, King will host a definitive political hour that goes well beyond the surface of the day’s top stories to provide in-depth analysis and context to key political movements in Washington and across the nation. As King does on his Sunday program, State of the Union, he will sit down with a wide range of the day’s top newsmakers, key political reporters and analysts, and elected officials.
“The program will reflect what CNN is all about: straight facts from our anchors and the widest range of opinions from across the political spectrum,” said Klein. “John has enthralled CNN viewers with his vast political knowledge, and he has spent the past year reporting from beyond the Beltway on pressing policy issues and the real people they impact. Every night, he’ll share his passion and his insights about what is really going on in Washington and across America.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity, at this busy and consequential time, to have a platform to discuss and explore the big issues of our time,” said King. “There is a lot of noise and conflict in our political discourse, which is fun to cover, but I’m convinced from my travels that people also thirst for more details as well as insight and context. I’m looking forward to combining those conversations with top newsmakers, smart reporting and expert analysis.”
King joins the weekday roster of CNN journalists that include Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper and Larry King. He will continue to anchor State of the Union until early next year.
King joined the network in 1997 after a 12-year career at the Associated Press, and launched the network’s successful Sunday program State of the Union earlier this year. Since the launch of State of the Union in January, King has delivered numerous news-making interviews, including those with President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Gen. George Casey, Secretary Robert Gates, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Admiral Mike Mullen, Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and key members of Congress and state officials. Moreover, in the 45 weeks on the air, King has visited 45 states with his Sunday program, looking beyond the beltway at the pain of the recession, the health care debate and other national challenges.