CNN Crapshoot: Larry King’s Replacement a Free for All?

by | June 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Cable News, TV News

Ryan Seacrest, Joy Behar, Piers Morgan (Photo: Getty Images)

Ryan Seacrest, Joy Behar, Piers Morgan (Photo: Getty Images)

A day after Larry King announced he’d be leaving his faltering CNN show in the fall, there were conflicting reports about who would take over for America’s most famous suspenders. The frontrunners appear to be a critical Brit and a loud redhead, neither of whom have the endorsement of King, 76.

Radaronline.com was reporting Piers Morgan has been negotiating with CNN for weeks and a $10 million deal is almost done. Morgan, who is currently a judge on NBC’s summer show ‘America’s Got Talent,’ was previously editor of the ‘Daily Mirror,’ but was fired after publishing what turned out to be fake pics of British troops apparently abusing Iraqi detainees.

Meanwhile, Deadline.com had the job going to current ‘View‘ co-host Joy Behar, who also has a show on HLN. Her ‘The Joy Behar Show‘ has been the brightest spot on CNN’s mostly grim ratings report, with total viewers up 39 % in the second quarter.

King cited the old “spend more time with my family” excuse in giving his notice, although his ratings have been in steady decline against competitors MSNBC and Fox News. Last quarter, ‘Larry King Live‘ had its worst ratings in its history, averaging just 674,000 total viewers for a 37% drop, The Huffington Post reported.

If Morgan does indeed secure the gig, he’ll be edging out King’s personal choice Ryan Seacrest, whom King mentioned on his show last night. “He’s curious, he’s interesting, he’s likable,” King said of the ‘American Idol‘ host. “If he has a great interest in politics, I would recommend him. But I’m sure there’s a ton of people who could do it. Come on, it’s Q&A.”

CBS Evening News‘ anchor Katie Couric has also long been rumored to be a replacement option along with ‘Survivor‘ host Jeff Probst.

CNN appears poised to shake up its evening programming, having hired disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer to fill the slot before 9 p.m. ‘Live.’ (Answering the question: What does visiting a high-priced call girl while in office get you? Your own cable news show!)

King made headlines in April when he and his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick, both accused the other of infidelity and filed for divorce. They reconciled a month later. Southwick suffered a prescription pill overdose earlier this month and is recovering.

Larry King Retires After 25 Years:

Who do you think should take over for Larry King? Will you miss Larry King? Did you know Larry King was still on TV? Comment below.