John King: Ending CNN Show ‘Stings’

Updated: 1:32 p.m. ET

CNN is ending John King’s evening political show at the end of the month, and expanding “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” to three hours.King will return to his role as the network’s lead political reporter, covering the 2012 campaign. “John King, USA” will be on the air until June 29. “The Situation Room” will pick up the third hour on July 2. The New York Times first broke the news of King’s shift at the network.

“I obviously wish we had performed better after the shift to 6p,” King told TPM in an email. “But we have struggled and as we discussed the final stretch of the campaign, it just made more sense for me to try to help by doing what I most love to do: traveling the country and reporting campaigns. When I was asked to do this, we were always clear it would be temporary — daily newscast anchoring is not what I am built do do. But that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed the program didn’t perform better.”

“… I’d be lying if I didn’t say it stings. But I’m also very excited to get out of the office and out into the country,” King added.

A CNN spokeswoman told TPM that King will have the “greatest impact” as a reporter out in the field.

CNN, which in June celebrated its 32nd anniversary, has made headlines recently for its declining ratings.

Below is CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz’s memo to staff, announcing the change:

TO:                 CNN Colleagues           

FROM:            Ken Jautz

DATE:             June 13, 2012

I wanted to inform you of a change we are making to bolster our political coverage heading into the critical stretch of the 2012 campaign. Beginning next month, John King will shift roles and become our lead national campaign correspondent. As a result, Situation Room will air from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and John will be providing reports for SitRoom, AC360 and other programs and CNN platforms.  This is John’s seventh presidential campaign, fourth with CNN, and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.

Additionally, we are expanding our news coverage in Washington. With landmark decisions on the horizon, I’m very pleased to announce that Joe Johns will be taking on a new role as the CNN Crime and Justice Correspondent, covering the Supreme Court and the criminal justice system.  Joe, who holds a law degree, has received national recognition for his crime and law enforcement reporting in DC. We are also expanding our coverage of national security and we will be adding a new correspondent to the Washington Bureau. Senior Producer Suzanne Kelly will become CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent covering national security and the intelligence community.  Suzanne is an acclaimed author who published a detailed account of Blackwater’s role in the Iraq War.

These changes will help us provide groundbreaking reporting and more depth of coverage of the important issues facing our viewers.  As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.