Bob Costas: Not The Next Larry King?

By Brian 

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> Update: 9:58pm: An e-mailer says: “I actually tuned IN tonight for Bob Costas — I think he’s an excellent broadcaster. Unfortunately, he is doing a show on the BTK Killer, which I have absolutely no interest in. Perhaps it is the choice of topics this week that is problematic for his ratings.”

“Hi, everybody. Bob Costas, this week, at least, in Larry King‘s shoes,” the substitute host said on CNN last night. Costas is filling in for Larry all this week, but apparently his feet aren’t very big: Monday and Tuesday night’s LKL ratings have been lousy.

On Monday, the time slot delivered only 426,000 viewers — one of CNN 9pm’s worst performances to date. (The subject matter didn’t help: “Four NASCAR Legends” probably doesn’t play well with Larry’s audience.)

On Tuesday, Costas’s interview with Conan O’Brien averaged only 606,000 viewers. August to-date, King has averaged 1,140,000 viewers, and 316,000 in the 25-54 demo. But when you add Monday and Tuesday together, Costas has delivered an average of only 516,000 viewers, and 191,000 in the demo — a decline of 55% in total viewers and 40% in 25-54.

On Tuesday, Costas and O’Brien talked about King’s body language — his hunched shoulders, his big head — and generally yukked it up for an hour. “What are the chances I actually make a return?,” Costas wondered aloud during the first segment. After all, “you come on, basically deconstruct the host’s body, the regular host’s body, your chances of having permanent employment.” His joke about Nancy Grace being in the bullpen was funny because it is true…

> Update: 6:52pm: “Bob’s broad range of interests, his quick wit and his deft interview skills will engage viewers in the best King tradition,” Jon Klein said in announcing Costas’s guest host gig in June…