Today, CNN executives announced that John King will be the network’s new 7 p.m. anchor. Mr. King will take over the time slot sometime early next year. For the time being he will continue to anchor CNN’s Sunday morning public affairs show, State of the Union. According to a press release, Mr. King’s yet-to-be-named program will focus on “key political movements in Washington and across the nation.”
The announcement came in the wake of Lou Dobbs’ sudden departure from the cable news network, where’s he’s worked on and off for nearly thirty years. Mr. Dobbs announced the news last night on the air.
That Mr. Dobbs and CNN are happy to part ways is of little surprise. In recent years, Mr. Dobbs has repeatedly clashed with CNN chief Jon Klein. And the two are well known inside the industry for having little love for one another.
Mr. Dobbs’ heated on-air rants, particularly on the subject of immigration, have in recent years been an uncomfortable fit with Mr. Klein’s attempts to brand CNN as the straight-down-the-middle, just-the-facts, cable news alternative to Fox News and MSNBC.
The uncomfortable alliance was fine when Mr. Dobbs’ program was doing well. But as The Observer reported earlier this year, Lou Dobbs Tonight has been on a steady ratings slide for quite some time. More recently, Mr. Dobbs’ embrace of the so-called “birther” movement has likewise failed to increase his nightly audience.
More from today’s release:
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.”