Katie Couric Gets Larry King's Vote as His CNN Replacement

Larry King says “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric is the best choice to succeed him as host of a prime-time CNN talk show.

“Katie has experience; she’s a good interviewer,” King said today. “She has a magic name. All things being equal, she would have a big edge.”

King, who announced on June 29 that his last show will be Nov. 19, said in an interview he has no role in picking his replacement. Couric, who left NBC’s “Today” show in 2006 for CBS, hasn’t said she is interested. Her contract with New York- based CBS Corp. expires in 2011.

Couric’s spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, said she is reporting from the Gulf Coast, is enjoying her job and will leave the speculation to everyone else.

“Katie has the utmost respect for Larry and his contributions have been invaluable,” Hiltzik said.

Alan Berger, Couric’s agent, has said she doesn’t want the job, according to King. Hiltzik, speaking for Berger, said the comments were “lighthearted” and Berger meant to convey “that no one could replace Larry King.”

CNN, owned by Time Warner Inc., is seeking permission from NBC to talk to Piers Morgan, the “America’s Got Talent” judge, about taking over for the 76-year-old King, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Photographer: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric attends the 7th annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards Ceremony. Close

"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric attends the 7th annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards Ceremony.

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Photographer: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric attends the 7th annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards Ceremony.

Barbara Levin, a spokeswoman for CNN, declined to comment.

King said he doesn’t know Morgan beyond interviewing him on his show. The 25-year CNN veteran has “a rooting interest” for “American Idol” host and radio DJ Ryan Seacrest, whom he describes as a friend.

“What I don’t know is whether Ryan is political,” King said.

King also said he doesn’t expect CNN to dramatically alter its straight news format to air shows that are more partisan in tone, regardless of who is chosen to succeed him.

“I hope that they won’t,” King said. “They say that they won’t. CNN is a brand.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ron Grover in Los Angeles at Rgrover5@bloomberg.net; Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

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