King to CNN primetime slot

Political program replaces ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’

CNN has filled the 7 p.m. weekday timeslot vacated by Lou Dobbs with a topical political program hosted by John King.

Set to launch early next year, the untitled hourlong show will see King discuss one or two hot-button issues of the day, with the cabler’s correspondents contributing as well.

“You have to perform, and if you don’t, you won’t succeed,” he said. “Will I obsess about the ratings? No, but my job is to find a compelling and, hopefully, provocative and contextual show that people will enjoy.”

King said that, unlike Fox News and MSNBC, which cater to political bents, he’s not willing to take sides in order to draw auds.

“I’m interested in getting the people the info they need, not what they want to hear,” he said. “Some other shows don’t pretend to be news. They’re not. They’re entertainment. That’s not the ground we want to defend. I’m there to steer traffic and make conversation.”

King will host “State of the Nation” until early next year.

Dobbs’ announcement Wednesday that he was stepping down came after he and CNN prexy Jonathan Klein had talked for months about toning down the rhetoric on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

There is talk that Dobbs, who has a daily radio show, may reappear on television on either Fox News or Fox Business.

Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown and Larry King will fill the 7 p.m. hour until King’s program is launched.

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