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Friday, February 25, 2011

Kathleen Parker can't take it any more, leaving CNN & Spitzer

Kathleen Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer, will leave "Parker Spitzer," CNN's ratings-challenged primetime program after just four months, the network said Friday.

The 8 p.m. show will be replaced by "In the Arena," which CNN described as an "ensemble" program that will feature Eliot Spitzer, Parker's co-host on "Parker Spitzer."

Parker, whose departure from the program has been rumored for almost as long as it has been on the air, will leave to "focus on her writing," CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz said in a statement. Parker writes an op-ed column for The Washington Post that is syndicated nationally.

The retrenchment is another blow to CNN's attempts to rebuild its flagging primetime lineup. In addition to introducing "Parker Spitzer," the network replaced the long-running Larry King interview program at 9 p.m. with a new celebrity-interview show hosted by British journalist Piers Morgan.

But the show never attracted much of an audience. On Wednesday, it drew 713,000 viewers, ranking it a distant third among the cable news networks after Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News (3.32 million viewers) and "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC (1.04 million). The poor lead-in also hurt "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9 p.m. His program was also a distant third behind Fox and MSNBC's offerings.  (Continues here at WaPO)

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