Candy Crowley to Leave CNN

Candy Crowley, a longtime political journalist who has been with CNN since 1987, is leaving the Time Warner-owned cable-news outlet after a 27-year tenure, a person familiar with the matter confirmed Friday. She has been CNN’s chief political correspondent.

“State of the Union,” the Sunday-morning talkshow about politics she has hosted since 2010, is expected to continue on the network, this person said.

Crowley has held forth on “State” since 2010, when she took over the show from John King. Since that time, she has served as CNN’s face, of sorts, in the Sunday morning talkshow wars, competing with “Face the Nation,” “Meet the Press” and others for “gets” of prominent political operatives in discussions of the issues of the day.

I wanted to let you know that Candy has let us know that she has made the decision to move on, so she can embark on the next chapter of her already prolific career,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, in a memo to staff. “As difficult as it is for us to imagine CNN without Candy, we know that she comes to this decision thoughtfully, and she has our full support.” 

“State of the Union” is not the most-watched Sunday news program — that distinction is held most weeks by CBS’ “Face The Nation” — but the show represents CNN’s efforts to be part of the news cycle at that time, when influential viewers tune in to see what they can glean from U.S. senators, Cabinet members and the like. Crowley’s departure takes place as NBC is attempting to retool its venerable “Meet the Press” with a new host, Chuck Todd, while ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” has made strides in attracting the viewer demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programs, adults 25-54.

“We have adapted a blend at the moment that tries to strike the balance between CNN’s commitment to reporting what’s going on right now, and the traditional Sunday Show mandate for viewers who want to ‘take a breath’ for deeper insight, analysis, perspective and longer interviews. It means we include our reporters when a story is breaking, and usually a panel to dissect the Big Washington Story,” she told Variety by email in August. “When we can, we take the show somewhere else, not just for the visual perspective but because you do tend to get different interviews when you visit the guest rather than when the guest visits you. For us, it is less about big change than about constantly challenging ourselves about what we do — to make it better.”

Crowley has covered the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, among others. Since the presidential nomination of Jimmy Carter, she has covered all but one of the national political conventions. She was also granted an exclusive sit-down interview with President George W. Bush just days before he left office.

Crowley began her broadcast journalism career in Washington, D.C., as a newsroom assistant for Metromedia radio station WASH-FM. She served as an anchor for Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, as well as a general assignment and White House correspondent for the Associated Press, where she covered part of the Reagan era before moving on to NBC-TV to become a general assignment correspondent in the network’s Washington bureau.

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