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CNN's Primetime Shakeup: What Happened to Anderson Cooper?

It wasn't Client No. 9 that did Eliot Spitzer in this time.
/ Source: E!online

It wasn't Client No. 9 that did Eliot Spitzer in this time.

In a not-so-surprising shakeup, CNN has axed In the Arena With Eliot Spitzer, the news program hosted by the scandal-plagued former New York governor.

Taking its place in the competitive 8 p.m. time slot will be the cable news network's prime-time flagship show, AC360, anchored by the Silver Fox himself, Anderson Cooper.

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The move puts the 43-year-old globe-trotting journalist head to head with Fox News' top-rated The O'Reilly Factor and MSNBC's The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell.

CNN will also rebroadcast Cooper's show in its current 10 p.m. home, while sandwiching Piers Morgan's interview show in between at 9 p.m.

As part of the reshuffling, CNN also plans to move Wolf Blitzer's two-hour The Situation Room back an hour to the 4-6 p.m. slot and John King U.S.A. to air immediately afterward. That leaves the 7 p.m. hour open for former MSNBC business reporter Erin Burnett to debut her new still-to-be-titled general news show in the fall.

Regarding Spitzer's future, while the network has asked him to remain as a commentator, it sounds like he's getting out of the news arena--and taking his black socks with him.

"We engaged serious people in coversations about national and global issues in a way that was informative and challenging," the onetime prosecutor said in a statement. "I believe that we provided diverse and valuable perspectives during the show's tenure. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CNN."

Following its premiere last fall, Spitzer's In the Arena averaged 595,000 viewers during its first six months on the air, but dipped to 457,000 viewers in June. And that was after getting a major overhaul from its previous incarnation, Parker/Spitzer, which fared even worse in the ratings before his more conservative sidekick, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, quit last February.

By comparison, The O'Reilly Factor hosted by Bill O'Reilly has tallied close to 3 million viewers on average during that same time period while MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann, which was succeeded by O'Donnell's show, netted 984,000.

In its 10 p.m. home, Cooper has built a loyal audience, if not nearly as big as those others with his "keeping 'em honest" slogan.

We'll see how he fares now.

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