February 25, 2011

Parker/Spitzer: Splitser

CNN announced tonight that Kathleen Parker is leaving Parker/Spitzer:

CNN co-host Kathleen Parker leaving show

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) — Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who co-hosted CNN’s 8 p.m. show, is leaving just five months after the show debuted, the company announced Friday.

“I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” Parker said in a statement.

She said she enjoyed her time on the show “Parker Spitzer” with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but she had missed focusing full-time on her column in the months she had been working on the show.

Parker’s farewell, as seen at this CNN web page, takes up all of seven seconds. Wow.

It’s hard to see how a program with a moderate who insists on claiming she’s somehow a conservative and a disgraced ex-Goveror could have worked, and it didn’t. The ratings from Thursday night showed P/S in a distant third place in the cable ratings race, barely beating its Headline News competitor:


As would be expected, the story at the Associated Press, which must think that anyone to the right of Lincoln Chafee is a conservative, called Parker one:

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said Friday that she’s leaving CNN’s prime-time “Parker/Spitzer” talk show, which will be renamed and continue with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and others.
CNN said the decision to cut ties with Parker was mutual.

The show debuted last fall to some tough reviews and poor ratings in a time slot dominated by Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. But the ending of MSNBC’s “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann last month has given CNN an opportunity. The network has averaged 638,000 viewers in the time slot during a newsy period this month, up 24 percent from last February’s show with Campbell Brown, the Nielsen Co. said.

The new show will be dubbed “In the Arena,” with two conservatives — former Fox News Channel personality E.D. Hill and National Review columnist Will Cain — joining Spitzer as panelists. CNN said others will be on the show, but they haven’t been named yet.

Parker, whose self-description is “slightly to the right of center,” became an establishment press darling in 2008 with her strident criticisms of Sarah Palin, vice-presidential running mate of “slightly to the right of center (on his best days)” John McCain. Her reward: a 2010 Pulitzer.

That there was tension between Parker and Spitzer was hardly a secret.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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