Producers say King’s performance on the show has grown increasingly befuddled.
One example: An interview with Chris Lawford, son of JFK sister Patricia Kennedy Lawford and actor Peter Lawford, where King acknowledged that for a moment he thought he was interviewing Peter Lawford, who died in 1984. King noted that his guest had married into the Kennedys.
“I didn’t marry into the family. My mother is a Kennedy,” Chris Lawford replied.
The incident is one of several that CNN executives say is starting to be a pattern that might make a King retirement come sooner than planned. King has held down the prestigious 9 pm slot on CNN since 1985.