CNN Cancels ‘John King USA’

Perennial ratings loser replaced by a third hour of 'The Situation Room'

CNN has abruptly canceled John King USA, its 6 p.m. show. The cancelation isn't a major shock. The two-year-old John King pulled in demo ratings in the mid-five-digit range (ratings for the show supplied by TVNewser averaged out to 72,800 viewers in the 25-54 demographic last week)—a major fall from last year, when the show was still in the 7 p.m. time slot now occupied by Erin Burnett. The show was called out for underperforming when it dipped to 54,000 demo viewers in its fourth week; last Thursday (in an earlier time slot, admittedly), it attracted a scant 52,000 viewers.

News of the show's cancelation was first reported in The New York Times.

Turner president Phil Kent, whose division oversees CNN, told audiences at the Nomura U.S. Media and Telcom Summit that he was "very unhappy" with CNN's ratings and said frankly that "we have some other shows that need to be replaced." CNN hit a 20-year ratings low in total day last month.

Meanwhile, CNN will air a third hour of Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room, presumably until a replacement for the 6 p.m. show can be found. King will remain a reporter at the network, according to a memo from CNN president of U.S. operations Ken Jautz. "John will be providing reports for [The Situation Room], AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms," Jautz said.

CNN is trying its best to shake things up. The network recently announced it hired Anthony Bourdain as a correspondent and had plans for a new show starring the Travel Channel chef.