Talk show host Larry King has signed with the Cable News Network to host a five-nights-a-week talk and call-in show, starting June 3 . . .
"Larry King Live" will replace the 9 p.m. "Freeman Reports," which until Tuesday had been hosted nightly by Sandi Freeman, live on CNN from New York . . .
CNN yesterday said that the network had been unable to reach terms for a new contract with Freeman. Her agent, Alfred Geller, disputed the CNN version, saying that Freeman had already "accepted a CNN offer for a new contract in good faith" but was told suddenly Tuesday that she was not being renewed . . .
As a consequence, Freeman, whose current contract expires tomorrow, has not appeared on the air for CNN since Monday night and plans to take some 34 accumulated vacation days as she departs the network immediately, Geller said . . .
Freeman had been with CNN since it first went on the air in Atlanta June 1, 1980, although she left the cable network briefly three years ago over a contract dispute that was settled amicably. For the past two years, she has been doing her program from New York . . .
She recently signed to write a book, describing her career in TV journalism and offering anecdotes about some of her famous guests, with William Morrow and Co. . . .
Geller said yesterday that Freeman is "in shock" over the sudden development. He would not discuss her future plans . . .
King's three-year CNN contract reportedly calls for $200,000 a year. The program will be live or on tape from night to night ("about half-and-half," according to King). A spokesman for CNN in Atlanta said yesterday that while most of the shows will be done at the Washington CNN bureau, "Larry will be reporting from out of town once in a while, too" . . .
King, meanwhile, is expected to sign a new three-year contract with the Mutual Broadcasting System soon which could call for more than $300,000 annually. In addition, he reportedly will cut back the nationwide midnight radio show from six to four hours . . .
CNN is now available on cable systems around the country with a potential audience of 32.3 million TV homes . . . Also in the News
Tonight at a New York dinner, ABC News' Barbara Walters will receive a Silver Satellite Award from the American Women in Radio and Television as a "well-deserved and appropriate tribute to a woman who has truly been the role model of so many broadcasters" . . .
Earlier in the day, on the 40th floor of ABC headquarters, ABC News president Roone Arledge will lunch with Ms. Walters and approximately 12 other female ABC News correspondents from the Washington, Los Angeles and Atlanta bureaus who are being flown in for the AWRT dinner . . .
Correspondent Sheilah Kast is even cutting short her current trip with President Reagan in Europe to be on hand . . .
Insiders say that Arledge can expect an earful from the correspondents, some of whom belong to an informal group of both on-air and off-air ABC News women who have complained to management in the past about what they believe is their lack of access to management jobs, lack of on-air time (in the case of the on-air talent) and a general feeling they're not getting a fair shake . . .
ABC Inc. board chairman Leonard Goldenson and ABC Inc. president Fred Pierce, who are expected to drop by, may get an earful, too . . .
Those close to Arledge insist he is aware of some of the problems and claim that only in the last couple of months has he been able to begin to address the several areas of trouble currently bedeviling ABC News. Day-to-day management, they claim, was almost impossible for Arledge as he staged the 1984 Winter and Summer Olympics and the Super Bowl in his role as ABC Sports president, while overseeing 1984 election year coverage that ended with President Reagan's inauguration in January . . .
The women apparently feel that with the pending Capital Cities Communications Inc./ABC Inc. merger facing review by various governmental agencies, the timing is good for the application of pressure over such issues as equal opportunity . . .
Speaking of mergers, CBS, which is facing a hostile takeover bid by Ted Turner and pressure from right-wing groups, received some indirect words of encouragement yesterday from ABC Inc. president Pierce as he addressed network affiliates meeting this week in New York . . .
Referring to a "growing environment of uncertainty about ownership in the communications business, an environment that is neither healthy nor desirable for the public at large," Pierce told the affiliates that "in a nation where most people rely on television as their main source of news and information, there is no room for ideology of any stripe" . . .
Without naming CBS, Pierce said "the challenges and opportunities broadcasters face are too important to risk participation by amateurs or ideologues. Trust and credibility must be inviolate, if the public's relationship with broadcasters is to be real, lasting and meaningful. Our society depends on this" . . .
The 90-minute American Film Institute salute to Gene Kelly Tuesday night on CBS averaged only a 10.6 rating and a 17 percent audience share in Nielsen's 10 major markets, including a skinny 7.7/14 on Channel 9 here . . .
Meanwhile, PBS reports that overnights for the grim "Memory of the Camps," featuring rare British and Russian film of the liberation of Nazi death camps, averaged a 7.0 rating and an 11 share in six major Nielsen markets Tuesday . . .
That represented the highest ratings of the season for "Frontline" -- which aired the film -- and its second-highest rating since the program debuted three years ago . . .
NBC News commentator John Chancellor marked his 35th anniversary with the network yesterday . . .
Chancellor broke in as a radio writer for the NBC-owned WMAQ in Chicago in 1950 after he and 68 other editorial employes of the Chicago Sun Times suddenly found themselves out on the street in a mass firing . . . By 1952, he had become NBC's first midwestern TV correspondent and the rest is the history of a distinguished career . . .
ABC Entertainment, which apparently didn't study too closely the unimpressive ratings for CBS' 13-hour "Space," yesterday announced it was expanding John Jakes' "North and South" mini-series next season to 12 hours while scheduling Jakes' "Love and War" sequel for another 12-hour run sometime later on the network . . .
ABC's mini-series list also includes "Amerika," which will run between 8 and 10 hours, and "Vietnam," from 12 to 14 hours . . . Y'All Come
There are still some tickets left for WETA's annual business and industry breakfast, which will be held tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at the Mayflower Hotel (a "reception" for real early risers gets under way at 7:30 a.m.) . . .
Participants include corporations that have given substantial financial support to the public broadcasting station during its 1985 campaign. The breakfast is held in conjunction with D.C. National Bank . . .
Speaker will be Tom Peters, author of "In Search of Excellence: Lessons From America's Best-Run Companies" . . .
For ticket information, call 998-2635. That's 998-2635 . . . Nota Bene
For reasons too complicated to explain in a single TV Column, devoted fans of the weekly Washington Post TV magazine should note that the magazine's program grid for tonight (Thursday, May 9) bears a remarkable resemblance to the grid for Thursday, May 2 . . .
The movie descriptions stand but otherwise you might want to check tonight's station listings against the grid on this page . . .