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CNN's last live 9 p.m. telecast tonight...

A little bit of TV history ends in just a few hours - CNN's long-standing "live" 9 p.m. telecast, once the linchpin of CNN's entire broadcast day, ends in just a few hours.

 Or 9 p.m., to be exact. 

 It began all the way back in 1980, when Sandra ("Sandi") Freeman hosted a nightly show, Freeman Reports," which was succeeded by "Larry King Live." "LKL" was one of the standout successes in CNN history - as LK likes to continue to remind people (just kidding, Larry!) - but the show that replaced it in 2011, "Piers Morgan LIve," was not. (It ended recently.)

 That "live" element gave CNN a certain cachet and immediacy - but the rest of cable news history happened, which you already know so well. CNN - though hugely successful worldwide and online - continues its long struggles during news' slow periods (which, by the way, "LKL" was often immune to.)

 The all-new primetime begins next week - original taped series (and films) hosted by Anthony Bourdain, Mike Rowe, Lisa Ling, and John Walsh (also, Morgan Spurlock...) will air at nine.

 Rest in peace, "live"... 

Mike Rowe at CNN: Will he be the network's Bill O'Reilly

Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame joins CNN this summer as part of a new original programs series that'll rotate at 9 p.m. (others hosted by Lisa Ling and Mike Walsh...) But here's the question: Will Rowe, who is clearly first among equals in this new lineup, be the struggling network's own Bill O'Reilly? 

 Rowe's series won't be live and it won't be nightly, at least initially. But CNN is clearly betting the ranch on a personality who already has a considerable following and doesn't seem to fall on either the left or right side of the political spectrum; as evidence,  he's been interviewed by the likes of Glenn Beck and Bill Maher - and you can't get any further apart that those two...He has been a supporter of 

 He's beaten a path on the "common sense" line -  a line to the disaffected. those out of work, those in work. And he's been quite effective at it. Now he's got CNN behind him. Check out some interviews, and by all means, go to his website. If you don't know who he is, a good place to start....

And of course, he's already got his own Youtube channel...


CNN shakeup: 'Dirty Jobs' host, Mike Rowe, joins; 9 p.m. interview series dropped

Mike Rowe on location at Meadowbrooke Farms in

(Credit: Aurora Photos)

In one of the most dramatic overhauls of CNN's primetime in recent memory, the network today announced that it will drop the long-running 9 p.m. interview series - made famous for so many years by Larry King, and more recently hosted by  Piers Morgan.  

 In lieu of interviews, Mike Rowe - the host of Discovery's "Dirty Jobs" will join, as part of a new 9 p.m. lineup that will also include John Walsh and  Lisa Ling. Rowe's new show is called "Somebody's Gotta Do It" - one of those series that spotlight people who have a passion, talent, compulsion,...

 And no, this is not "news" in the traditional sense of the word certainly...

 Here's the core part of the announcement from CNN. (See below)..But the watchwords are "original series" - those have done well for CNN, which continues to struggle when "breaking news" fails to "break..."

 Meanwhile, the network will add a new 10 p.m. program to the  mix.

 To say this is historic is not quite an overstatement - the 9 p.m. "Live" program has been a core part of the entire cable news spectrum for decades. But clearly CNN chief Jeff Zucker discovered what others before have - that finding someone who can actually do this sort of show and draw huge audiences is exceedingly difficult and costly. Jay Leno was rumored as a potential Morgan replacement - but he made clear he had no interest in returning to a regular TV berth. Many other names have been floated, but a "killer app" personality so to speak remained illlusive.

 Now it's up to gravel-voiced Rowe (et al) - a one-time pitchman who made "Dirty Jobs" a TDC success and has been off the tube (as best I can tell) for a couple of years....   

The press release: As part of the announcement, the network is bringing Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) back to series television, in a new program called Somebody’s Gotta Do It. In addition, proven television personalities John Walsh (America’s Most Wanted) and Lisa Ling (Our America with Lisa Ling) will also join CNN, with their own new, original series. CNN will also premiere The Jesus Code, which will take viewers on a forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible. And CNN announced that the ten-part original series The Sixties, from Playtone and acclaimed producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, will premiere in late May. The network also announced that its Peabody and Emmy-award winning hit Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown has been picked up for an additional four cycles in 2015 and 2016 and its critically acclaimed series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man has been renewed for another cycle in 2015. CNN has also entered into a development deal with the producers of Chicagoland to tell the story of another great American city. All of those original series, plus a weekly documentary from CNN’s in-house documentary unit, will air at 9pm, ET beginning this summer.

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