There's been a lot a lot a lot of rumbling about Larry King's future at CNN in recent weeks, culminating today in an unsourced story in Britain's The Telegraph saying that Piers Morgan will in fact replace him and that an announcement is imminent. Etc.
I have yet to get an official denial from CNN, and when I do, will post. In the meantime, here's what CNN will probably say: "Larry King is one of great broadcasters in TV history and we have no intention of replacing him ever, never, ever...which means he will be in this role through the end of time. So please stop asking about ratings and what-not and get off Larry's back."
I'm sure CNN will say it in far more mellifluous terms.
In fact, here is the CNN statement...Just got it! And it does read much better than mine...
"Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of people who would love to succeed Larry King if and when he moves on, but rumors that we are close to signing a deal for a Larry King replacement are untrue. We are currently looking at replacing our 8pm program and that is our priority. Larry is a beloved member of the team, and he will continue to be part of the CNN family into the future."
But the Telegraph story does seem to come under the "smoke-fire" heading. It also has unusual specificity - even citing an estimated $8.1 million "deal." In fact, that figure suggests an agent leak and therefore may be totally out of whack - especially given the state of the economy, CNN's ratings, and the hard simple fact that even though he won "Celeb Apprentice" and has been a prominent personage on "America's Got Talent," Piers is still a relative unknown here. And you then ask - couldn't CNN come up with a relative known?
Also,if Larry does - as widely expected - stick around until his contract ends next year ('12), then why wouldn't CNN explore Katie Couric's availability?
But maybe he won't be sticking around. Maybe there's greater urgency to get this problem - CNN at 9 - fixed sooner than later. Maybe CNN is bleeding so badly that they need to get a new person in the saddle now. Maybe Larry has said he wants to leave anyway.
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. The truth will out...shortly.