You know who I bet is having a hearty larf right now? Ahem.
For Mr. Spitzer, who has tried to rehabilitate his public image since resigning the New York governorship in disgrace three years ago, the cancellation of “In The Arena” is a setback. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but in a statement provided by CNN, he expressed pride in his show.
“We engaged serious people in conversations about national and global issues in a way that was informative and challenging,” he said in the statement. “I believe that we provided diverse and valuable perspectives during the show’s tenure.”
The executive in charge of CNN/U.S., Ken Jautz, said in an internal memorandum that the channel is currently “in discussions with Eliot Spitzer about an alternative role.” But Mr. Spitzer’s own statement cast doubt on that possibility; it concluded by saying, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CNN.”
How bad was it for Client Number Nine? Not only was he already getting whipped in the demo by Olby on whichever UHF frequency Current TV broadcasts on, he was getting whipped by “Red Eye” on Fox at 3 a.m. Looking back, the only memorable interview in the entire run of the show was the time John Ziegler showed up and clashed with Kathleen Parker over Palin. Otherwise it was just … CNN. Nothing terrible, really, but nothing that Blitzer or John King or a thousand other people couldn’t have done for them in that timeslot. In fact, it’s amazing to think how long blandness at 8 p.m. has been a problem for them given the gangbusters ratings Fox and MSNBC piled up during the same hour by unleashing some personality. O’Reilly and Olbermann have been chewing scenery since 2003; over that same span, CNN’s had … Paula Zahn, Campbell Brown, and Spitz. And now they’re going to plug Anderson Cooper in there and do another hard-news-y hour. Cooper’s personal star power will help them, and the new lead-in — Erin Burnett at 7, finally with her own show — is a nice change of pace given how cable news primetime skews older and male, but there’s someone else they could have gotten who would have done serious business as Spitzer’s replacement. She’s as colorful as O’R and Olby, she’s proved that she can deliver big ratings, and thanks to l’affaire Anthony, she’s never been bigger. Dude, it’s time.