As part of his separation agreement with CNN, Larry King has the option to join another network or media outlet when he leaves his nightly show, two people familiar with the agreement tell TVNewser.
King has already committed to doing occasional specials for CNN, but his agreement with the network allows him to also work elsewhere as soon as this Fall, provided it isn’t at a direct CNN competitor such as MSNBC or Fox News.
King’s previous contract with CNN had been set to expire in June, 2011. Last week, King and CNN executives negotiated a separation agreement that gave King the specials as well as the ability to talk with other media companies. The final terms, which remain private, were agreed upon by both parties on Friday.
While King is free to talk to other networks, a source close to the veteran CNN host tells TVNewser that for now King is committed to his talk show.
Update: In his first television interview since announcing his decision, King elaborated on what he will do next to MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger: “This let’s me do anything I want, I can do commercials, I can do sports,” King said. Amsinger also asked King if he was interested in joining the MLB Network team. “Would I like to join MLB? Absolutely yes,” King told him, noting that baseball is one his passions.
A source also confirmed what King had said on his program last night, that Ryan Seacrest is his choice to replace him on CNN. However, there are a number of issues that could prevent the “American Idol” host from joining the network.
King expressed concern about Seacrest’s interest in politics, a serious problem for a news and current events program, even one with a heavy entertainment focus like King’s.
A bigger issue is Seacrest’s other television commitments. He is under contract to host “American Idol” and “E! News” through 2012, and has a daily radio show that broadcasts across the country. He also runs a successful production company, which has a number of shows on the Comcast Entertainment Network channels.
The addition of a nightly talk show to those other duties make the addition of Seacrest an unlikely one.
“It might be too much, even for Ryan,” one television executive connected in the Los Angeles entertainment scene told TVNewser.
Furthermore, Seacrest is said to not be the top pick among CNN brass, though who that person is still remains unclear.
“America’s Got Talent” judge and British talk show host Piers Morgan has been rumored to be the front-runner, according to a number of reports out of the UK tabloids.