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Spitzer Canceled, Leaving CNN Prime Time Thin

Cooper moved into time slot, no replacement added

Eliot Spitzer | Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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CNN has canceled Eliot Spitzer's primetime political talk show In The Arena, bumping Anderson Cooper 360 into the 8 p.m. slot. 

Under the new lineup announced today, Piers Morgan Tonight will air at 9 p.m., sandwiched by the first airing of AC360 at 8, and a re-air of Cooper's program at 10. In late September, Erin Burnett's as-yet unnamed new show will premier at 7 p.m (and re-air at 11).

In The Arena—off the air after only nine months—was meant to replace Spitzer's old CNN show, Parker Spitzer, which was canceled last February after only four months. In an internal memo to staff, CNN's head of U.S. operations, Ken Jautz, said, "This lineup emphasizes our focus on quality journalism and on hosts who are proven reporters, as well as on shows that successfully combine original reporting with news analysis, civil debate, and a wide range of inclusive and differing opinions." Jautz added, "We are in discussions with Eliot Spitzer about an alternative role."

CNN has had a relatively good quarter, with 685,000 total prime-time viewers. That puts the network in third place behind MSNBC, which in its first quarter since the departure of Keith Olbermann in January, drew 798,000 in prime time, while Fox News Channel—the traditional ratings leader in cable news—had 1.82 million prime-time viewers. 

While CNN didn't announce any new programming today, Spitzer's departure leaves the network with a re-air-heavy prime-time lineup containing only two hours of original programming, and ample room for a new show or two.