Rachel Maddow: Larry King “An American Institution”

By Alex Weprin 

Late last night TVNewser spoke to MSNBC’s 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow about her upcoming trip to Afghanistan. But as long as we had her on the phone, we couldn’t help but ask about her thoughts on her CNN counterpart, Larry King, who announced earlier in the evening that he would be leaving his show later this year.

Maddow tells TVNewser:

“Mr. King has had an incredible career, both in terms of its longevity but also in terms of the impact that he had on what people expect in primetime.

The Larry King interview is an American institution, and nothing about the ups and downs of the cable industry and its competition from broadcast and all the other developments in our business can change that. He is an institution for a reason.

He is also somebody who nobody in the entire industry has a bad word to say about. To have been in the business as long as he has, and to have pretty much everybody think that he is a good guy is a sort of miracle, and is a real testament to him as a person.

I wish him all the best, I am happy that he is still going to stay involved at CNN even after he gives up his show, and I look forward to seeing who CNN is going to put on to replace him.”

Maddow’s 8 p.m. lead-in, Keith Olbermann, also weighed in on King’s departure on Twitter:

“Larry King is a lovely, generous man who tried, for 8 years, to convince his bosses to hire me to be his 8 PM lead-in at CNN,” Olbermann tweeted. And later: “Oh CRAP. This means mine will be the longest running primetime cable news show not on Fox. CRAP CRAP CRAP.”