John King gets Dobbs slot on CNN


CNN announced that a new weeknight political show featuring anchor and chief national correspondent John King will debut in early 2010, filing the 7:00-8:00 pm ET time slot vacated by the departure of Lou Dobbs. It’s being billed as an in-depth news show in the style of King’s Sunday show, “State of the Union.

“The program will reflect what CNN is all about: straight facts from our anchors and the widest range of opinions from across the political spectrum,” said CNN President Jonathan Klein, who had earlier issued a statement separating the network from what he termed “advocacy journalism” by Dobbs.

“John has enthralled CNN viewers with his vast political knowledge, and he has spent the past year reporting from beyond the Beltway on pressing policy issues and the real people they impact. Every night, he’ll share his passion and his insights about what is really going on in Washington and across America,” Klein said.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity, at this busy and consequential time, to have a platform to discuss and explore the big issues of our time,” said King. “There is a lot of noise and conflict in our political discourse, which is fun to cover, but I’m convinced from my travels that people also thirst for more details as well as insight and context. I’m looking forward to combining those conversations with top newsmakers, smart reporting and expert analysis.”

King joined CNN in 1997 after a 12-year career at the Associated Press.

RBR-TVBR observation: King will obviously deliver a very different type of show than Dobbs. We had many times watched CNN reporters cringe as Dobbs tried to get them to make comments which shored up his political views. No doubt they’ll be more comfortable reporting news with Klein.

But “advocacy journalism,” as Jonathan Klein calls it, is a big ratings draw. Just look at Glenn Beck (whose TV show aired on CNN sister Headline News before moving to FNC), Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews. The three right-wingers on Fox News Channel and the two left-wingers on MSNBC don’t have much in common, except that they draw strong audience numbers and they aren’t on CNN.