Larry King Fading from Relevance

Larry King Live is about to celebrate its 25th year on CNN, but these are lean times for the host and the network. King, 76, once owned the 9 p.m. time slot, with marquee guests on headline-making issues. But in the face of the popular partisan political shows with hosts like Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow, along with CNN’s schedule-wide slump, King is struggling. Since the last presidential election, his audience has been halved to an average of a mere 725,000 viewers a night. And CNN, whose prime-time ratings have dropped off by about a third in the last year, can hardly afford any more drains as Time Warner grows impatient. Network executives are still mum on King’s contract, which expires in a year, and rumors are already swirling about Katie Couric possibly taking over his seat.