John King's CNN show has been canceled.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that "John King USA," which has been on the air since March of 2010, has been yanked from the network lineup. The show will end on June 29th. In its place, Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" will expand back to three hours.
In a memo to staff, CNN president Ken Jautz said that King will become the network's "lead campaign correspondent."
King has long been one of CNN's top political reporters, and he hosted the network's Sunday morning show, "State of the Union" before moving to primetime. But he struggled to gain much traction in the ratings, remaining a perennial third place finisher to Fox News (where Bret Baier has dominated the timeslot) and MSNBC. In May, for instance, he averaged 341,000 viewers — 200,000 behind MSNBC's Al Sharpton.
King spoke out about the move on Twitter:
He also sent a statement to The Huffington Post. “I’m eager to get back to doing what I love to do most: being out in the field, traveling the country and reporting on campaigns," he said.
The shift comes as CNN is battling through one of its worst ratings crises in decades. In May, the network saw its primtetime ratings hit a 20-year low. Jeffrey Bewkes, the CEO of Time Warner, and Phil Kent, the CEO of Turner, both sternly expressed their dissatisfaction with the plunge.
"We have some other shows that probably need to be replaced," Kent told a media summit at the end of May.
Read Jautz' memo, obtained by HuffPost's Michael Calderone, below:
I wanted to inform you of a change we are making to bolster our political coverage heading into the critical stretch of the 2012 campaign. Beginning next month, John King will shift roles and become our lead national campaign correspondent. As a result, Situation Room will air from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and John will be providing reports for SitRoom, AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John's seventh presidential campaign, fourth with CNN, and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.
Additionally, we are expanding our news coverage in Washington. With landmark decisions on the horizon, I'm very pleased to announce that Joe Johns will be taking on a new role as the CNN Crime and Justice Correspondent, covering the Supreme Court and the criminal justice system. Joe, who holds a law degree, has received national recognition for his crime and law enforcement reporting in DC. We are also expanding our coverage of national security and we will be adding a new correspondent to the Washington Bureau. Senior Producer Suzanne Kelly will become CNN's Intelligence Correspondent covering national security and the intelligence community. Suzanne is an acclaimed author who published a detailed account of Blackwater’s role in the Iraq War.
These changes will help us provide groundbreaking reporting and more depth of coverage of the important issues facing our viewers. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.