I said "Parker-Spitzer" debuted dead on arrival, and CNN finally took a step Friday to try and do something with the remains: CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz announced that Parker was leaving, and Eliot Spitzer would now be part of a new "ensemble" show at 8 p.m. weeknights titled "In the Arena."
The "In the Arena" concept, by the way, was one that another disgraced politician embraced after his fall: Richard Nixon.
I will include all the statements from all the parties without comment in a second. But just allow me two fast thoughts.
Jautz says, "We will be adopting an ensemble format with several newsmakers, guests and contributors joining Eliot Spitzer each night."
Is it really an ensemble if others are "joining" Spitzer. If he's the only one who is there every night, is it still an ensemble?
Also, Jautz sets a time frame in his "Note" that indicates Parker decided to leave the show, and then CNN decided to "take the show in a new direction."
But in her note, Parker reverses the sequence of the two events, saying, "...with the show going in a new direction, it is a good time to move on."
I can't recall a show as messed up as this one getting on anybody's air -- and that includes PBS' "Need to Know." And that's really saying something given that disaster.
Nor can I remember as much spinning and lying with any show. I wonder if that has something to do with CNN building a show around somone who has become the poster boy for hypocrisy.
"In the Arena" with the least trusted man in television -- there's a catchy promotional idea. Remember when Spitzer was running around saying how they were going to re-invent cable talk and bring new depth and context to it. That was just before Piers Morgan started running around saying how he was going to kick the competition's butt in the ratings. What a prime-time pair.
Here is CNN's package on the move:
CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz announces “In the Arena” ensemble program at 8:00 pm. Below are statements from Ken, Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer.
NOTE FROM KEN TO STAFF:
I want to share with you some news today regarding our 8pm show. Kathleen Parker has decided to leave the program to focus on her writing, and we have decided to take the show in a new direction. We will be adopting an ensemble format with several newsmakers, guests and contributors joining Eliot Spitzer each night. The new program will be called, "In the Arena," beginning Monday. E.D. Hill and Will Cain will join the program as well others within and outside the CNN family.
We have been pleased with how the 8pm hour has become a centerpiece of substantive, policy-oriented conversation, and we are looking forward to building on that with this new format. Simply put, the new program will look beyond the headlines to analyze and discuss the most important stories of the day. The program will provide context and analysis through balanced and thoughtful discussions and interviews with a wide range of guests and newsmakers who cumulatively represent various points of view.
Kathleen will continue to appear on CNN occasionally to provide her insights and commentary. We thank Kathleen for her hard work and all that she has done to help us launch our new 8pm program. We respect her as a colleague and appreciate her perspective and contributions.
Statement from Kathleen Parker:
After bringing viewers a new 8pm show on CNN, I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings. While I am extremely proud of the show we created, and the subject matter and level of discourse Parker Spitzer promoted every night, it was a difficult decision to scale back my column a few months ago and, with the show going in a new direction, it is a good time to move on. I want to thank the viewers who have been so kind with their comments and support. I will continue to appear to contribute and analyze occasionally on CNN and look forward to continuing my relationship with CNN and the many talented individuals I have worked with here.
Statement from Eliot Spitzer:
I wish Kathleen all the best in continuing on with her spectacular career. It has been a joy working with her as a teammate, and I continue to be a huge fan of the wisdom that jumps from her written work and the wit, charm and insight she brings to all that she does.