Friday, March 17, 2006

LARRY KING GETTING TRASHED IN PRINT

It sucks to be Larry King these days. For some strange reason he's been getting trashed in print all week for his CNN show. The jist of it is that people are basically accusing King of being too old and senile. People say his audience is even older and even more senile than he is, that the average age of the typical Larry King audience member is 70 years old! Well, that's what you get when you put on Billy Graham and Tammy Faye Bakker and Don Rickles and all these types as guests.

I also saw an article in the Wall Street Journal which basically called for the cancellation of King's show on the grounds that King lobs softball questions at guests and interviews celebrities a lot, and how this style doesn't fit in with the hard-hitting shows featuring Paula Zahn and Anderson Cooper. But I hit the roof when I read that article, because King's always lobbed softball questions and interviewed celebrities, nothing's changed about that! The WSJ is calling for King to be fired, not because of a dropoff in the show or any of that, but simply because that writer clearly doesn't like Larry King to begin with.

Anyway, because all these anti-Larry King articles are out there people are now speculating these are all leaks from management, that management is out to get Larry. But now the New York Post has the honcho of CNN, Jon Klein, quoted as saying King isn't going anywhere. But then Aaron Brown wasn't going anywhere either, right? Maybe they're out to axe the EP of the show, instead. Who knows. This New York Post article summarizes the beating King has taken this week in the media and elsewhere, by the Wall Street Journal, by Nikki Finke, by Jerry Seinfeld, and others. They're even speculating now on who could be a permanent replacement! Ryan Seacrest!!!! Good grief.

I don't want Ryan Seacrest hosting permanently in Larry King's spot. That's a really fine way to make Fox Fans out of the remaining members of the audience. (I'm talking Fox News, not the American Idol Network which Seacrest is a part of these days.)

I will say this: this show has gone downhill in recent years. Larry King is Larry King, he is who he is whether you like that or not, so that's not the reason why you should fire him. He always lobs softball questions because he's a broadcaster, he's not a hard-hitting journalist! That's his style, it allows his celebrity guests to open up and talk- and you know how clammed-up those guests can get! This was his same style on radio. Frankly I think his radio show was a lot better than his television show, his television show is a shadow of his former self. He used to interview these celebrities and these book authors all the time, that's what I liked about his radio show! But good luck getting book authors to appear on the TV show these days. The TV show has gone the tabloid route in recent years and moreover, the guests are just too old. They're still booking guests from the 1980s for a 21st-century show! They had Paul McCartney on not too long ago and how often has he been on the Larry King Show? So often that I've lost count! Same for that other King regular, Bob Dole!

Meanwhile, Howard Stern went over to Hannity and Colmes over on Fox News, just so he could trash Les Moonves for suing him over supposedly using the CBS radio airwaves to promote Sirius satellite radio. Why didn't Howard go on Larry King?! Good question, because Larry's show would have cleaned up with Stern on, ranting and raving. Stern appeals to a younger audience! No wonder Hannity and Colmes wins the timeslot all the time, if this is what their guest lineup consists of.

THE KING SHOW HAS GONE STALE. I think what this show really needs is another OJ trial. Or something. They definitely need better guests who might make some news. And it would help if Larry actually did some legwork on the guests on the show, FOR A CHANGE. It might help him ask some intelligent questions and not look like an idiot on TV so often.

I don't want to see Larry King cancelled, but boy, his show needs help right now.

UPDATE:
Seems that the great CNN response came just after Fox News trashed CNN management on the air.

Hannity and Colmes had a segment on their show where they bashed CNN management for not standing up for Larry King, and Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes said that they respected Larry King, and Greta Van Susteren came on to say how great Larry was to her when she was at CNN during her miserable stint there.

And I tuned in Larry's CNN show on Friday on the radio and he had Simon Cowell on. King seemed alright. I don't know why people say he's lost it.

I just think that the bashing he took this week was from the usual crowd of people, the anti-tabloid-TV people, who want to go after Larry King and all these people who cover celebrities and major trials for a living. These are the same people who ran Greta Van Susteren off the air at CNN for no reason whatsoever, and now she's over at Fox News and just killing CNN. Well, as someone who decided to get into journalism, in part, to cover celebrities and major trials, I might as well say here that I respect Larry, too, and despite this show's obvious problems it's still better than the rest of the prime-time programming on CNN. Larry King is an institution!

The King show simply needs a few tweaks, they've got to quit booking 80-year-old guests and start making news again! But then that's the producers' responsibility, not Larry King! All I gotta say is they should book better guests! That's the end of that rant.

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