Kathleen Parker is leaving CNN’s struggling prime-time show “Parker Spitzer,” it was announced Friday.
Parker is being dropped in an overhaul of the series, however, Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer remains as co-host. The reformatted show–now called “In the Arena“–will feature an ensemble of guests from “within and outside the CNN family,” starting with E.D. Hill and Will Cain, who join the program when it re-launches on Monday.
Rumors that Parker’s exit was imminent began in January, as CNN was reportedly mulling over ideas on how to “fix” the show. At the time, a network spokesperson told the WSJ, “We aren’t going to engage in speculation. The show continues to improve and we think it is a good addition to our lineup, providing smart, substantive analysis on the day’s news.”
Parker, who will continue to appear on CNN occasionally, issued a statement: “I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” she says. “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.”
Lack of chemistry between co-hosts Parker and Spitzer was evident from the start of the cable news program, which debuted on CNN in October and has lagged in the ratings since, averaging under 500,000 viewers. Tension quickly mounted and reports that the right-leaning Parker was unhappy soon surfaced.
“In the Arena” airs weeknights at 8 p.m./7c on CNN.