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Is Jay Leno the new Larry King?

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Kingleno_lPoor Larry King. He reminds me of the poor fellow near the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail who keeps insisting that he’s not dead yet, that he feels just fine, really. Both King and CNN have said that he’s not going anywhere, and yet rumors persist of his imminent replacement. Names floated have included Ryan Seacrest, Katie Couric, and now, Jay Leno.

I don’t even know if any of these people want the job — Seacrest’s sorta busy, yes? Couric will have to stick it out at CBS a while longer in order for both the network and herself to save face when she finally does leave. Leno, though, is going to have plenty of time on his hands starting next year, and I’m sure he’s happy to irk NBC by letting other networks court him. Whether or not any of these folks end up replacing King, I’m certainly ready to see him put into suspendered animation. Not because he’s old, but because he’s always been unable (or unwilling) to acknowledge context. Everything is equally important and newsworthy to him, whether it’s the utterances of a world leader, Anna Nicole Smith’s mailman, or caller Bob from West Tumbleweed.

If CNN does hire Leno or Seacrest (and maybe even if it hires Couric), there’s only going to be more of the same. So maybe he should stick around for a while, long enough to curdle and turn cranky like Andy Rooney. At least then, maybe he’d venture an opinion once in a while that would ruffle some feathers, or recognize that some matters are weightier than others.

Your turn: Who would you pick to fill Larry King’s slot? Or would you have him stick around as long as he likes?