CNN Says Kathleen Parker to Leave Prime-Time Program `Parker Spitzer'

Kathleen Parker is leaving the “Parker Spitzer” prime-time program on CNN, and the network will retool the show around remaining host Eliot Spitzer.

The new show, “In the Arena,” will use an ensemble format with several newsmakers, guests and contributors joining Spitzer each night, starting Feb. 28 at 8 p.m., CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz said today in a statement.

The cable news network, owned by New York-based Time Warner Inc., created the “Parker Spitzer” show in June, following a 34 percent drop in its prime time audience, compared with the previous year. The show started airing in the fall. Will Cain and E.D. Hill will join the show as Parker exits, CNN said.

News Corp.’s Fox News and Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC have excelled at the 8 p.m. slot with personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann. Since late December, Fox has averaged 1.9 million viewers in prime time each night, MSNBC has averaged 828,000 and CNN has averaged 670,000, according to data from Nielsen Co. CNN said “Parker Spitzer” gained viewers last month after Olbermann left MSNBC.

“The numbers weren’t there,” said Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media, a New York-based advertising company. “CNN has a lot of work to do to become competitive with the other news networks,” Adgate said in a telephone interview. “It’s not a destination news network on a regular news night. They just don’t have the star power.”

Parker, a syndicated newspaper columnist, said she is leaving to focus on her writing. Her exit marks the latest shakeup in the 24-hour news channel’s prime-time lineup. Piers Morgan replaced long-time nightly talk-show host Larry King in January.

Time Warner gained 48 cents to $37.90 at 4:24 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has gained 18 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net; Brett Pulley in New York at bpulley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.

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