Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, plans to announce Wednesday that he is leaving the network, two network employees said.
A CNN executive confirmed that Mr. Dobbs will announce his resignation plans on his 7 p.m. program. His resignation is effective immediately; tonight’s program will be his last on CNN. His contract was not set to expire until the end of 2011.
Just watched his cut-and-run declaration on his program. He's no doubt headed to FOX.
Well known for his political positions, Mr. Dobbs is an outlier at CNN, which has sought to position itself as a middle ground of sorts in the fractious cable news arena. The CNN employees said Wednesday that they did not know if Mr. Dobbs was moving to another network.
Mr. Dobbs met with Roger Ailes, the chairman of the Fox News Channel, in September. At the time Mr. Dobbs was viewed as a potential hire for the Fox Business Network. But a Fox spokesperson said Wednesday, “We have not had any discussions with Lou Dobbs for Fox News or Fox Business.”
His increasingly shrill, bitter, angry, paranoid ramblings will fit right in, probably in some time slot around the Beck/O'Reilly/Hannity bloc.
Mr. Dobbs has been with CNN since its founding, save for a two-year stint at a Web site called Space.com. He has evolved over the years from a straight-laced business anchor to an outspoken commentator who rails against illegal immigration and taxpayer bailouts, among other subjects.
Lately, though, he has saved most of his opinions for his afternoon radio show, which made its debut in March 2008. It is on the radio show that he talked repeatedly about the conspiracy theory claims that President Obama is not a United States citizen. When he mentioned the citizenship issue on CNN over the summer, his bosses were forced to call it a “dead issue.”
More recently, Mr. Dobbs’ views on immigration provoked a protest by Hispanic groups. Members of the groups complained that CNN was allowing Mr. Dobbs “to spread lies and misinformation about us each night.”
Last month the New Jersey State Police were called to Mr. Dobbs home to investigate a report of gunfire. Mr. Dobbs suggested that his family had been singled out because of his views on illegal immigration and border security.
His departure leaves CNN, trying desperately to straddle the political fence, steadily losing audience with no viable replacement in sight.
Update: It's John King.
CNN announced Thursday that John King, the Sunday morning host best known for his magic wall, is taking over the 7 p.m. slot left vacant by the abrupt resignation of Lou Dobbs.
The decision, described by network sources, amounts to a doubling down on straight news. King, a former Associated Press writer, is known for his reporting and neutral approach to politics, while Dobbs has grown increasingly opinionated in recent years, especially on such issues as his opposition to illegal immigration.