CNN drops Eliot Spitzer TV talk show

Wed Jul 6, 2011 2:46pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - CNN has canceled its television talk show hosted by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, despite a major revamp less than six months ago.

Announcing its fall TV schedule on Wednesday, CNN said that starting August 8, Anderson Cooper's nightly news program AC360 will air in the slot now occupied by Spitzer's "In the Arena".

Spitzer, who debuted his new show on CNN in October 2010 with Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, was not mentioned in the line-up. Parker left the show in February after disappointing ratings, and the show was revamped with Spitzer continuing as the main contributor.

No reason was given for the decision to drop "In the Arena" but the program is the lowest-rated primetime show on CNN and continues to languish below the audiences for rival cable news shows on Fox News, MSNBC and HLN.

CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz said the network is "in discussions with Eliot Spitzer about an alternative role".

But a statement from Spitzer on Wednesday suggested his time at CNN may be up. "We engaged serious people in conversations about national and global issues in a way that was informative and challenging. I believe that we provided diverse and valuable perspectives during the show's tenure. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CNN," he said.

Spitzer was forced to resign as New York governor in 2008 for hiring a high-priced prostitute. There has recently been speculation he might try to return to politics.

CNN newcomer Piers Morgan and veterans Wolf Blitzer, and John King remain on the schedule. They will be joined in the fall by a new general news program with Erin Burnett.

Jautz said the new line-up "showcases anchors who are experienced reporters in covering stories that span the globe."

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer speaks at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit 2010 in New York April 28, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>