Larry King celebrates the 25th birthday of his CNN show next week, but the 76-year-old may not have many more years with the network. His ratings have plunged to an average 725,000 a night, putting him well behind Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow, as viewers opt for more partisan programs—and high-profile guests do the same. CNN won't say if it plans to renew King's contract, which is up next year, but according to the New York Times there's a growing sense within the company that it's time to make a succession plan.
“They have this iconic personality who is going to disappear in the not-too-distant future, and they don’t have any clue what they’re going to do,” said one senior employee. The top prediction is that Katie Couric will take the job when her CBS contract ends next year, though the ratings slide has made that less appealing. Considerably less likely is King's own stated choice of successor: Ryan Seacrest. Seriously.
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