John King

CNN anchor John King will headline a new weeknight political program starting early next year, taking over the spot left vacant by the departing Lou Dobbs, the network announced Thursday.

Lou Dobbs leaving CNN

"The program will reflect what CNN is all about: straight facts from our anchors and the widest range of opinions from across the political spectrum," CNN president Jonathan Klein said in a statement.

King, 46, who said he was "thrilled" by the opportunity, currently hosts CNN's Sunday political show, State of the Union, on which he'll remain until early 2010.

Watch clips of King on State of the Union

"There is a lot of noise and conflict in our political discourse, which is fun to cover, but I'm convinced from my travels that people also thirst for more details as well as insight and context," King said. "I'm looking forward to combining those conversations with top newsmakers, smart reporting and expert analysis."

Dobbs announced Wednesday night on his program, Lou Dobbs Tonight, that he was leaving the network he helped found in 1980, effective immediately, to "engage in constructive problem-solving."

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After 12 years at the Associated Press, King, who's known for his use of the "magic wall" map during the election process, joined CNN in 1997 as a senior correspondent. He helped launch State of the Union in January.