After the jump, CNN’s release regarding Blitzer’s contract extension and John King’s new gig as “Late Edition” host.
Following an election year in which its innovative coverage set new records for viewership and outdrew both the broadcast and cable news networks on Election Night, CNN is ensuring that Wolf Blitzer will continue serving as its lead political anchor through the next presidential race, while tapping John King to lead a bold new Sunday block of political programming.
Blitzer, who led CNN’s election coverage, has extended his contract as CNN’s lead political anchor and will continue to anchor the 15 hours of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, which airs weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ET). Throughout November, The Situation Room was the No. 1-rated weekday news program in all three hours among the key demo.
Following his break-out reporting during the election season, King will take the helm of a new Sunday four-hour news block from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), debuting in January. The program will offer a unique blend of newsmaker interviews, political analysis, national and world affairs, cultural segments, media analysis and commentary.
“Wolf will continue redefining political coverage on television, as heâ€™s done so successfully during this election. Wolf has driven CNNâ€™s election coverage to No. 1 on primary and election nights and he has built The Situation Room into a dominant weekday program,” said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “We are reinventing Sunday mornings around the best political reporter of his generation, John King. He has stood out throughout the election as the single best connected, most knowledgeable source of what’s going on and why, and this new program is an opportunity to showcase those strengths throughout the entire year.”
The first hour of the new program will focus heavily on politics and the new administration, while the later hours will delve into national and world affairs and commentary on current events. The four-hour programming block will also include Reliable Sources, hosted by Howard Kurtz, which will continue as an hour-long examination into the intersection of the national media, politics, and the hottest topics in news.
In addition to utilizing CNN’s unparalleled, worldwide newsgathering resources, King will integrate extensive reporting from the field nationally and globally. King will also incorporate innovative “Magic Wall” technology, which was instrumental during coverage of the 2008 election, to visually enhance reporting and story-telling. The program also will offer up thoughtful conversation with regional experts, pundits and CNN analysts and contributors.
As CNN’s lead anchor for the network’s political coverage, Blitzer has moderated several of CNN’s presidential primary debates and anchored coverage of the key primary and caucus nights as well as Election Night 2008. Since joining CNN in 1990, he has interviewed some of recent history’s most notable figures including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and former presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Blitzer has also interviewed many foreign heads of stateâ€”former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former South African President Nelson Mandela, among themâ€”from locations around the world.
King, who joined the network in 1997 after a 12-year career at the Associated Press, will continue to hold the title of chief national correspondent in addition to his new role as anchor. He was an integral part of CNN’s innovative “America Votes 2008″ coverage of the presidential campaign, traveling to important early election states to cover and interview major candidates, breaking news about campaign developments and pioneering the use of the CNN “Magic Wall.” During his time at CNN, he also served as the network’s senior White House correspondent. The 2008 campaign marked the sixth presidential election King has covered. In addition, he has reported extensively across the United States and the world, including the first Gulf War, the war in Iraq and the Southeast Asia tsunami.
CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the worldâ€™s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.