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King Gets Crowned

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009; 4:50 PM

John King wouldn't tell Stephen Colbert, but we can reveal the answer now.

When the CNN anchor appeared on the Comedy Central show this week, he said the network hadn't yet decided on a name for the Sunday show he is taking over -- the one currently known as "Late Edition."

Colbert helpfully suggested "The Magic King-dom," or -- and I think this was more of a long shot -- "On the John."

But now the CNN brass, taking time out from pondering who might replace Sanjay Gupta, have come up with a name: "State of the Union with John King."

CNN seems to like Official Washington-type titles, such as "The Situation Room," with Wolf Blitzer, who is giving up his Sunday duties. This is not to be confused with the White House Situation Room, which deals with a different kind of incoming.

The King show debuts at 9 a.m. on Jan. 18 at the Newseum, where CNN will be basing its inaugural coverage as all the networks go into hoopla mode for the Obama swearing-in.

Note: My media show on CNN will remain in the middle of that four-hour block at 10 a.m., but we're sticking with the same old name. Unless I can get a better suggestion from Colbert.

TV Doctor Gets Paged

From 8:03 a.m.

For a few seconds, I was puzzled by the notion of Sanjay Gupta as surgeon general.

He's a real-live neurosurgeon, yes, but I primarily think of him as a television guy: a CNN host and contributor to the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes."

But as I thought about it, the idea made sense. What does a surgeon general do? He's a television salesman for health policy. (Gupta once told me that doing TV isn't brain surgery--it's harder.) He would give the administration a smooth broadcast presence, the knowledge of medical professional, a top aide of Indian descent and the panache of one of People's "Sexiest Men Alive." (Don't laugh. Women, I am learning, just drool over this guy, with entire sites devoted to gushing over his hunkiness.)

I confirmed yesterday that Obama has offered the job and that Gupta had all but officially accepted. Got it up on the Web site at 2:36 p.m., mere moments after filing the story. Cyberspeed comes in handy sometimes. CNN, where I host a weekly program, didn't report it until 3:59, but the blogs went crazy--lead story on HuffPost, top of Drudge's page, then the NYT and others. Gupta wouldn't comment to me--while not denying the story--but confirmed on his Twitter feed that he "has been approached by the Obama administration about the U.S. surgeon general's post." Everyone's digital these days.


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