Larry King to “Hang Up Nightly Suspenders”

CNN host to quit primetime show in fall after 25 years on-air

Larry King said that after 25 years hosting his primetime show on CNN he's decided to "hang up" his signature suspenders.

The 75-year old veteran CNN host announced in a statement ahead of Tuesday's "Larry King Live" broadcast that he plans to exit the program in the fall. But he said he will stay on with the network to host specials on “major national and international subjects.”

“Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you," King's statement read. "25 years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live. Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games."

King added that he was “incredibly proud" to have made the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot. The newsman has conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews over his 53-year career on the air,  The Associated Press reported.

"Just as CNN redefined the news business, Larry King defined the art of the television interview." CNN President Jon Klein said in a statement on Tuesday. "His candor, curiosity and compassion are legendary, and his ability to interview people from all walks of life--world leaders, celebrities and everyday people--has made him an icon."

While King's stock and trade comes from interviewing newsmakers, the host himself has been very much in the news of late.

Earlier this month, a rep for King revealed that his wife, Shawn King, was recovering from an apparent May 28 prescription drug overdose in Utah. The Kings filed for divorce in April but later released a statement indicating their marriage was "still together."

More recently, King hosted a star-studded telethon that raised $1.7 million for victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. A similar King telethon on CNN for Haiti earthquake victims netted $5 million in January.

While King has said that he would like "American Idol" judge Ryan Seacrest as his replacement, it's no sure bet that the 9 p.m. program will continue in its present format. Hours before King announced his departure, newly released ratings data showed Q2 2010 was "Larry King Live's" worst ever quarter. 

"With this chapter closing I’m looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring," King said in his statement, "but for now it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.”

Contact Us