Kathleen Parker has been dropped from "Parker Spitzer," and the show is being replaced by a new show called "In The Arena," the network announced Friday.
In a memo to staff, CNN President Ken Jautz said that "In The Arena" would be an "ensemble" show, with "several newsmakers, guests and contributors joining Eliot Spitzer each night." Among the regulars will be former Fox News anchor E.D. Hill and National Review writer Will Cain.
The reason given for Parker's departure was her desire to focus on her syndicated column. In a statement, Parker said, "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." But her exit comes after months of bad ratings and reports of heavy tension between her and Spitzer, as well as her and the show's production staff.
In December, it was reported that Parker had threatened to quit the show, and had walked off the set in protest of what she felt was Spitzer's domineering attitude. She acknowledged that there had been "editorial and political tensions" involved in the production of the show.
In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that CNN was considering replacing her.
Spitzer said in a statement that "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."
The full statement from CNN President Ken Jautz, with statements from Parker and Spitzer, below:
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.