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CNN Cancels 'John King USA'

CNN John King - P 2012
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John King

Beginning next month, Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" will expand to fill the 6 p.m. hour.

CNN has canceled John King USA, the 6 p.m. show that launched in March 2010 in the run-up to the midterm elections.

Host John King, a respected Washington reporter, has been with CNN through four presidential campaigns working the network’s “magic wall” on election nights. Beginning next month, he will become lead national campaign correspondent reporting across CNN shows and platforms while Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room will expand to fill the 6 p.m. hour.

In a memo to CNN staffers, CNN/U.S. president Ken Jautz explained that the new role allows CNN “to better tap [King's] skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”

Additionally, CNN has upped senior producer Suzanne Kelly to intelligence correspondent and Joe Johns to crime and justice correspondent, covering the Supreme Court, which is nearing a decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform act.

It’s no secret that CNN has experienced ratings woes of late. The network hit a 20-year primetime low in May. Speaking last month at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York, Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent said he remains “very unhappy” with the network’s ratings and noted “we have some shows that probably need to be replaced.”

Said Kent, "We haven’t put the best shows on the air."

CNN recently hired ABC News correspondent John Berman to anchor morning show Early Start beginning in July and is likely to make other personnel moves on the program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin. And in early 2013, the network will launch a weekend show fronted by Anthony Bourdain, who also will be available to appear on other CNN programs.

Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com; Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie