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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.

CNN ends 'Piers Morgan Live'

CNN confirms on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, that

(Credit: AP)

Piers Morgan is kaput. CNN has confirmed the story that Morgan himself confirmed to The New York Times about an hour ago. 

The blunt and unlovely statement: "CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending. The date of the final program is still to be determined."

Morgan did what he pretty much had to do -- put on a good face in an interview with the Times' David Carr, who knew the score of this game long ago, too, or, as Carr precisely and accurately puts it in his scoop: 

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"It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial."

Morgan told the Times: "Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

"Jeff" is Jeff Zucker, CNN chief. 

 Meanwhile, a Times of London story said Morgan may have taken the fall for his anti-gun stance. Good for Morgan, but apparently the Times of London has never heard of "ratings" -- as in "pretty darned not good." 

CNN plans Jay Leno tribute Friday

Jay Leno arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair

(Credit: Getty Images/Pascal Le Segretain)

Jay Leno is leaving "The Tonight Show" next week, but on Friday, CNN will air this: 

After an incredible run on top, Jay Leno is wrapping up his reign on The Tonight Show. Jay Leno: Mr. Comedy airing Friday, January 31st at 10pm ET on CNN, looks back at how Leno earned his stripes on the comedy club circuit in the 70’s, made his first splash on TV in the 80’s and then, in the 90’s, took...

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Jay Leno does not exactly rule out CNN as his next stop

Jay Leno, left, and Jimmy Fallon at the

(Credit: AP/Jordan Strauss)

Over the past two days, there have been two major television interviews with Jay Leno -- first, Sunday night on "60 Minutes," and again Monday morning on the "Today" show. In both instances, he more or less rules out a return to late night. But what about other times of the day? That subject --- if not exactly that question -- came up in his exit interview with the Hollywood Reporter, posted Monday morning.

It's a good and far-ranging interview, and once again, Jay expresses a sense that the transition is fine with him, and adds a little supporting evidence by saying that in fact he was supposed to stay until September (that's known) but that NBC wanted him to move aside six months earlier to give Jimmy Fallon a big prelaunch platform with the Olympics -- but that NBC assured him his staff would be paid through September. He indicates that this goodwill gesture was certainly appreciated.

But what about that "what's next" question? He tells THR there have been lots of offers but when he's asked about his relationship with CNN chief Jeff Zucker, he certainly doesn't pointedly rule out a move to the cable network -- a 10 p.m. show has been rumored, in part because there's a widespread industry expectation that Piers Morgan's contract will not be renewed, and that he'll be moved aside by midyear. Here's Jay (Lacey Rose, THR's smart reporter on the TV beat handles this adroitly):  

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There's been talk about Jeff Zucker expressing interest in you for CNN. A lot of people are interested . . . But you and Zucker have a rich history, including the chapter when he dumped you for Conan. There's no grudge? No, because Jeff believed in "The Tonight Show." When we did "The Tonight Show" [during his tenure atop NBC], if there was a big star in New York and we wanted them tomorrow night, Jeff would say, "Authorize the jet. Find $25,000. We want them." Boom. Those kinds of things don't necessarily happen anymore.

What happens now? It's just different. Jeff comes from a talk show background. He did the "Today" show, so he understands what's necessary for a daily show. You do whatever you have to do to get guests, no matter what it costs. You worry about it later. He was always very helpful that way. The fact that other things didn't work out? OK, I get it.

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