Who could replace Larry King?

 Better question: Who should?

 [For the record, a number of web sites, most recently Radar, have reported that Piers Morgan is almost certainly the Choice to Replace Larry, and that terms are being finalized. True? We await the press release...]

  Meanwhile, several intriguing possibilities emerged yesterday and I'd like to officially nominate a former president with a gift for the ol' gab, and an ability to ask questions.

  Only problem - he has a tendency to answer them himself.

  Yes, Bill Clinton: Why not?

  Here's the why: Smart, opinionated, could bring any guest in, would make the show instantly successful, create buzz (and how), and provide a sharp, almost hilariously sharp counterpoint to Sean Hannity on Fox News.

  Sean versus Bill!


  Here's the why nots: Long history of answering media questions as opposed to asking them, and not always answering them with complete candor either, as you may recall; maybe too opinionated (CNN's presumed non-bias would disappear forever); probably miss a million shows because he has to travel to Ghana for a summit. 

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  Here's the list of others out there, assuming Bill isn't available...

  Bryant Gumbel: Far and away the best candidate out there. I'm astounded he makes none of the likely candidate lists and can only reason that his likeability scores are so low, CNN doesn't think he could carry the show. But he handled "Today" for fifteen years, with some blips here and there (Jane Pauley departure, Deb Norville, etc.).  This would be perfect for CNN.

 Bob Costas: Another ideal candidate, and had even did the gig a few years back when Larry had to go to extra Little leagues games to watch the kids. There was plenty o' speculation that Bob was getting ready for the fulltime job - which he roundly dismisssed at the time. Of course, he is tied to NBC and of course NBC has little interest in having a highly paid employee draw viewers from their air while he's on the payroll. (Imagine!)

 Katie Couric: CNN wanted her, but has a year left on her contract. Could CNN and CBS work out a "sharing arrangement?" Anything may be possible. But I think CNN may have cooled on her at this point. 

 Ryan Seacrest: Like King, could ask the Everyman and Woman questions. But he's also tied to a little show called "American Idol" and his popular radio show. King wants him, and he'd be fine, in my opinion - IF the interviews are super softies about pop culture. I find it hard to imagine RyCrest diving into hard news interviews about the gulf crisis or IMF policy. But who knows - wackier things have happened.

 Joy Behar: Her CNN Headline News show, launched last year, has been successful; plus she was born in Brooklyn, like Larry. Works "The View" in the morning, this at night? This is a real possibility, but I just can't get my head around the idea of Joy as some sort of big league interviewer. But maybe...

 Piers Morgan: British tabloid editor, judge on "America's Got Talent," and rumored recently as the likeliest replacement. This may happen - and what a let-down if it does. Nothing against PM - but good heavens, the man judges crazy people on "AGT." Plus, he works for NBC.

 Jeff Probst: "Survivor" host, and "Larry King Live" stand-in on occasion. I like this idea instinctively. Probst would have to engineer a fundamental image make-over, but I think he could do it, and turn in a reasonably good show.But he's also got that other gig - I find it hard to put my head around these "moonlighter" candidates, who hold a day gig, then grab an extra paycheck from CNN at night. But that may be the way this thing goes.

 Bill Clinton: Well, what about the 42nd president? Possibly the most inspired choice of them all (Fox News Roger Ailes once wanted him for his network.) But do ex-presidents do talk shows?