CNN cancels ‘John King, USA’

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

CNN canceled "John King, USA" on Wednesday.

The ratings-challenged 6 p.m. talk show will be replaced on June 30 by an expanded, three-hour edition of "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer."

King will become CNN's chief national correspondent for the network's 2012 presidential election coverage—the role he also had during the 2008 cycle.

"John will be providing reports for SitRoom, AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms," CNN's U.S. chief Ken Jautz wrote in a memo to staff obtained by TVNewser. "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."

The change, Jautz wrote, is aimed to "bolster our political coverage heading into the critical stretch of the 2012 campaign."

Blitzer's show--which was shortened to make room King at 6 p.m.--will now air from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and feature King and others as correspondents.

[Related: The secrets of Wolf's success]

King's hour-long show debuted at 7 p.m. when it launched in March 2010, moving to 6 p.m. last year. But it struggled to find an audience at any hour.

The show averaged 114,000 24-to-54-year-old viewers at 6 p.m.--down 40 percent compared to what "The Situation Room" drew in the same time slot.

"Obviously wished we performed better," King wrote on Twitter. "Daily anchoring ends tad sooner than plan[ned], but now I get [to] do what I love: coming soon to a battleground state near you! All diner recommendations welcome."

In May, CNN had its worst monthly prime-time ratings in over 20 years, Politico noted, averaging just 389,000 prime-time viewers—down more than 50 percent.

The same month, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that he and others at the company were "clearly not satisfied" with CNN's flailing ratings and were working on a plan to "restore momentum."