Chung ankles CNN

Anchor walks after cabler cancels talkshow

Connie Chung has walked away from CNN, after the news net said it would cancel her struggling primetime news gabber.

CNN confirmed Chung’s departure late Tuesday.

“Connie Chung Tonight” last aired March 19, shortly before the U.S. launched its bombing of Iraq. The 8 p.m. show was suspended to make room for ongoing war coverage.

CNN spokesman Matt Furman said Chung turned down another on-air opportunity, opting instead to leave the net. Her departure date is uncertain.

According to insiders, newly installed CNN prexy Jim Walton was straightforward when Chung approached execs about the future of her show.

The cancellation comes as CNN — which has lost ground to Fox News Channel over the past year — looks to return to its hard-news roots.

“This is an effort to further distinguish ourselves in a crowded cable news marketplace,” Furman said.

Chung was brought on board last year by then-CNN chairman-CEO Walter Isaacson, who left the net in January. The show’s ratings have been mixed. While the talker didn’t perform out of the box as CNN hoped, “Connie Chung Live” had seen double-digit ratings growth in the past two months.

In recent weeks, Walton canceled another CNN staple, the afternoon entry “Talk Back Live.”

For now, CNN anchor Aaron Brown will continue to fill the 8 p.m. timeslot with war coverage. CNN said it hadn’t yet determined how to fill the slot on a long-term basis.

As for Chung, she may have lost prime backers when Isaacson and former Turner CEO Jamie Kellner (who departed last month and returned to focus on the WB in Los Angeles) left the company.

It’s unclear what Chung might do next. Reps for the anchor were unavailable late Tuesday.

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