CNN ends 27-Year Marriage with Larry King

By BRIAN STELTER
Larry King.

Larry King’s 27-year tenure at CNN has come to an end.

On Wednesday, the cable news channel, a unit of Time Warner, said that it and Mr. King had “mutually agreed” to stop the quarterly specials that they started producing together last winter.

“I have nothing but love and respect for CNN, and I’m looking forward to all the wonderful business opportunities that I will now dedicate my full time to,” Mr. King said in a statement through a CNN spokeswoman.

Last month, it was reported that Mr. King, 78, was planning to participate in an online venture with Carlos Slim Helú, the Mexican billionaire who is also an investor in the New York Times Company.

No such venture has been formally announced, and Mr. King’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an e-mail message on Wednesday. But last month, the lawyer, Bert Fields, told TheWrap that there had been discussions between Mr. King’s camp and Mr. Slim’s.

Wednesday’s announcement by CNN, in response to an inquiry by The Los Angeles Times that led to a blog post, might have surprised casual viewers who had thought Mr. King and the channel had already parted ways.

His daily show, “Larry King Live,” ended in 2010 amid declining viewership, and was replaced by “Piers Morgan Tonight” in early 2011. But Mr. King and his longtime producer, Wendy Walker, agreed to produce four special interview shows a year.

The specials in 2011 included an interview with the actor Johnny Depp and an entertaining dinner party with a number of celebrity guests.

Mr. King’s specials on CNN are ending early and ahead of the contract deadline, a person with knowledge of the deal said Wednesday. The person insisted on anonymity because the parties involved were not commenting on the contract. Ms. Walker will exit CNN along with Mr. King, the person said.

“We have the greatest respect for Larry and wish him the best of luck with his new endeavors,” CNN said in its statement.

In Mr. Morgan’s first year in Mr. King’s former 9 p.m. time slot, CNN gained about 55,000 viewers on an average night. Most of those gains were among viewers ages 25 to 54, the key demographic for cable news.

For the year the channel remained No. 3 behind Fox News and MSNBC in the time slot, as well as in prime time overall.

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