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Conservative Kathleen Parker Out at CNN; Former Fox News Host In

"...mired by backstage clashes and disagreements."

Kathleen Parker, half of the duo on CNN's 8pm show "Parker Spitzer," has left the show and the network.

Parker and CNN announced the departure today, saying it was a mutual decision. According to CNN, Spitzer, the disgraced former New York governor once caught in a prostitution scandal, will continue with the network on a new show -- in the same slot -- called "In the Arena."

The new show will also feature former Fox News anchor E.D. Hill.

On the old show, Spitzer was considered the liberal voice while Parker, also a syndicated newspaper columnist, generally represented the conservative viewpoint. The two, however, struggled to find chemistry and reports have been circulating recently that Parker was upset after feeling her position on the show had been relegated to a support role, with Spitzer stealing the spotlight.

Last month, the New York Post quoted one source who said CNN was considering replacing Parker. "There is no doubt in the world they are going to replace her," the insider said.

Considering the co-host tension, it's not surprising Parker's statement on the move made no mention of Spitzer:

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.

Spitzer, however, praised Parker for her work on the show:

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.

Mediate obtained an internal memo from CNN  chief Ken Jautz to staff announcing the departure and the new show:

TO: CNN Staff

FROM: Ken Jautz

DATE: February 25, 2011

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.

Ken

"[Parker's] departure represents a win for Spitzer, who, according to the Post Friday, was telling friends she would be out 'within the week' and that he felt he could handle the show on his own," Politico's media blogger Keach Hagey writes.

"The sudden reformatting of the 8 p.m. hour on CNN reflects the channel’s continued struggle to come up with a coherent identity," the New York Times reports. "Almost since the day it started in October, 'Parker Spitzer' was mired by backstage clashes and disagreements. It never generated ratings traction."

One last thing…
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