Larry King announced on Tuesday that he will step away from his CNN chair in the fall after a remarkable 25 years on the air, earning the Guinness Book of World Records title for the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot on the same network.
“It’s time to hang up the nightly suspenders,” he told viewers, confirming what his Twitter followers learned just before showtime. As the host of the first-ever worldwide phone-in TV talk show, the breaking news reached the realm of new media as “Larry King” quickly became a trend in the social web.
While King, 76, will no longer be hosting his nightly program Larry King Live, he has signed a contract with CNN to do specials for the cable network. King hopes the new schedule will allow “more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ Little League games.”
There will be plenty of time to head down memory lane; it’s estimated King has done about 50,000 interviews. Tammy Haddad, Larry King Live Executive Producer from 1985-1993, told NBC’s Today Show that King’s secret to success was that “people would get so comforable with him they would say things they didn’t plan on saying…he engaged them at such a level.”
The months ahead are also sure to be full of speculation over who will fill King’s seat. Rumors hint at British talk show host Piers Morgan, but King disclosed on Tuesday’s broadcast that American Idol host Ryan Seacrest would be his choice.