Larry King ending his 25-year-old show
CNN talk show host Larry King announced that he is ending his nightly show Larry King Live after this year, bringing the curtains down on the 25-year-old show during which he had interviewed about 50,000 guests.
King, 76, made the announcement that "it's time to hang up my nightly suspenders" on his Twitter page and before he started his show on Tuesday.
"I want to share some personal news with you. 25-years-ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live. Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall," King said.
CNN has "graciously" accepted King's decision. King said he wants to spend more time with his wife and go "to the kids little league games".
He would continue to be part of the CNN family and host "several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects".
King's large glasses, suspenders and a desk microphone became synonymous with his identity. Larry King Live made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot, a feat King says he is "incredibly proud" of.
"With this chapter closing I'm looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring," he said.
Image: Larry King poses with his plaque after his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997
Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters
'Life will be better'
Having conducted over 50,000 interviews since the show started in 1985, King said, "I'm never going to top this. I want to expand. I want to do other things that I haven't been able to do. Life will be better".
The show recently completed week-long celebrations of its 25th anniversary.
However, its viewership and popularity have been dwindling in the last several months, even as CNN revamps the line-up of its shows.
King's show averaged 674,000 viewers, its lowest viewership in at least a decade, according to Nielsen ratings.
King's guest on Tuesday's show comedian Bill Maher asked him who he thinks should replace him, to which King replied American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
"He's curious, he's interesting, he's likable. 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 and A".
Later in the programme, former first lady Nancy Reagan told King over phone that "I couldn't let you do this without my calling you. You didn't call me and ask my permission".
Image: Larry King and former President Bill Clinton
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters
'Only God failed to show up for a Larry King interview'
King tweeted that winning two Peabody Awards, an Emmy and his "Perot-Gore Debate" have been the "highlights" of his career.
His guests form an enviable list of who's who from the world of politics, entertainment and sports, including President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Paul McCartney, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over his 53-year-old career, he has conducted sit-down interviews with every US president since Richard Nixon.
CNN's former chairman Tom Johnson had famously said "Only God failed to show up for a Larry King interview".
King had himself said "God" when once asked if there was anyone he wanted to interview but hasn't so far.
"And my first question would be, 'Do you have a son? Because there's a lot riding on the answer," he had said.
He said he had always tried to ask short questions and to never come in with an agenda.
In recent months, problems in King's personal life had become highly publicised. He had filed for divorce from his eighth wife Shawn Southwick-King in April, but reconciled weeks later.
Image: Larry King and sons Chance (left) and Cannon at a baseball game
Photographs: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters