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King is Dead, but CNN Is Last Station to Confirm it

It seems that about once every month or so, the media spinners grind away at their keyboards about the demise of CNN. I'm not the least bit proud to say that I have been guilty of it myself.

And I'm (we're) at it again.

I think this will have to be the last time for me, though. Every last fish in this barrel of fun, has about been blown to bits. Even I don't have an endless supply of ammo.

No promises, of course, but until the network gets out of its own way and stops tripping all over itself, I will no longer give obvious thought as to why they are on their backs looking up at everybody in the ratings.

This final rendition of "How To Save CNN From Itself" has mostly to do with the iconic and ancient Larry King. We'll call this final ditty, "Where Have all the Viewers Gone?"

Let's get this out of the way first: CNN is positively mismanaged these days, and has no sense of what it wants to be anymore. Its aimless approach to broadcasting is dizzying and annoying. This might even be simple enough for Rick Sanchez to understand.

I suppose I could quit there, but since this is the last time I am typing about all this, I am going to really rub it in.

While cable-news competitors Fox News and MSNBC clobber them with the ol' right-left combo, King and his prime-time lightweights are being knocked back and forth like a collection of blow-up clowns that kids my age used to bat around before CNN was twinkle in Ted Turner's eye.

King is simply being outworked and outhustled by his competitors in the time slot, Fox's Sean Hannity and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Even Headline News' Joy Behar is closing in on King as he falls to where he can't get back up.

Larry King, 76, long ago ceased to be relevant. And by long ago, I mean about two or three years, give or take, which we all know is an eternity in the jittery world of television ratings.

That CNN continues to anchor its prime-time lineup with the guy says more about the network than it does King himself. If Larry King really is the best CNN can do in that key prime-time slot, I have one question: How does anybody at the place keep a job?

King isn't old news, he's no news. I'm not sure he is even alive. As you well know, I am hardly the first person to ponder this. I have come to the conclusion that this is why they still call the show "Larry King Live," though.

And that right there is the problem.

Not if King is alive or not (I really do think he is and not because of the nightly confirmation in the title), but that his show is some eclectic mix of comedy, politics, entertainment, and buffoonery.

You never know what (or who) you'll get with Larry King.

It might be Paris Hilton pitching some skanky, frilly, apple-colored lingerie for women shaped like lollipops one night, or Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano's groaning approach to red-hot Homeland Security issues. And by the way, who among you voted for the former governor of Arizona, and why did you do it? The woman gives drying paint a bad name.

While the show's competitors in prime time are offering programs with pop, King is propped up like some rickety, old, giant hunch-backed puppet in front of that pitch-black backdrop, which I hear Jack Kevorkian even thinks is a bit drab. And is it any surprise that Dr. Death has been another one of King's go-to guests over the years?

Are any decision-makers at the station actually watching this show?! And if they admit they are, how can they not be repulsed and dumbfounded by what they are seeing?!

My gosh, watching that black sludge pour into the Gulf of Mexico is more uplifting and compelling.

So I'll say this one more time: CNN needs to figure out what it wants to be, instead of taking this scatter-shot approach to broadcasting. It needs to chart a course that even Sanchez can understand after ample studying. It needs to reclaim the fair-and-balanced message. It needs to pull King away from his microphone, prop him up in some corner, and make itself relevant to people with at least semi-regular heartbeats.

It will get no more help from me.

(Got a tip, a gripe, or some kudos? Send 'em along.)