Former CNN/US president Jon Klein joined HuffPost Live Friday to discuss the changes at his old network, and defended his decision to give Larry King's 9PM slot to Piers Morgan.
"As a viewer I don't regret it," Klein told HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. "I watch him all the time. I think he's been intelligent and provocative and he follows his own compass. That's what we wanted, a guy who was an aggressive inquisitor, who spoke his mind, and could be as interesting as his guests. On most nights he does that."One regret Klein does seem to have, however, is not being able to convince his boss at the time, Jim Walton, to bring Keith Olbermann to CNN. Watch Klein explain his feelings on what Olbermann could have meant to CNN below:
As New York Magazine's Gabe Sherman reported in 2010, Klein attempted to poach Olbermann -- under the premise that they would "put MSNBC out of business" -- but his then-boss, Jim Walton, would not go for it:
Klein set out to poach Olbermann. At the time, Olbermann had a window to negotiate in his MSNBC contract and Klein made a hard sell. He told Olbermann he could bring Countdown to CNN--the two even discussed which members of Olbermann's staff would make the move with him. "Jon and I were in very deep discussions on a regular basis for me to go over there," says Olbermann. "One of the premises was we would have put MSNBC out of business."...
Walton pushed back on Klein's plan to hire Olbermann. "I'm not gonna be the guy who's gonna turn CNN into an opinion network," he told executives in meetings. But in Klein's view, CNN already was an opinion network. For an hour each night, Walton tolerated Lou Dobbs's anti-immigration tirades. Klein pressed Walton to reconsider, but Walton held firm. "I bailed out when it became apparent that the people above [Klein] were less than sanguine about this," Olbermann tells me.