Louis Rukeyser, who has been absent from his CNBC financial news show since last fall, is taking an indefinite leave because of health concerns, the cable network announced yesterday.
Rukeyser, who was last on the air on Oct. 31, underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for surgery to relieve pain in his back several months ago. In a statement released by CNBC yesterday, Rukeyser wrote that further tests revealed "a low-grade malignancy" that requires continued treatment. He did not return a call left at his home yesterday seeking additional comment.
"As I know you will understand, I am more than eager to be back on the job, but have no choice but to postpone my next appearance until the doctors tell me I'm ready," Rukeyser wrote in the statement. "As General Douglas MacArthur famously declared as he left the Philippine Islands during World War II, `I shall return.'"
Rukeyser was host of the PBS staple Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser from 1970 to 2002, when he was told he would be ousted from the anchor's chair by his producers at Maryland Public Television. He was fired outright a few days later after complaining about the move on the air.
The next month, he started as the host of CNBC's almost identical new show, Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street that is broadcast at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night to compete with MPT's refashioned Wall Street Week with Fortune. Rukeyser's show has been picked up free of charge by more than 100 PBS stations across the country and has attracted a significant audience.
"Lou is an important and beloved member of our CNBC family, and we, like his millions of fans, are very much looking forward to his return," Pamela Thomas-Graham said in a CNBC press release. A series of guest hosts drawn from CNBC's ranks will continue to fill in for Rukeyser until his return.