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Larry King; Master of The Mic!

Celebrating his 45th year in broadcasting in 2002, CNN's Larry King is the host of the network's Larry King Live, the first worldwide phone-in television talk show and the network's highest-rated program. The Emmy Award-winning King and author of multiple books has been dubbed "the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever" by TV Guide and "master of the mike" by TIME Magazine. Larry King Live debuted on CNN in June 1985 with its now famous mix of celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions. Telecast each weeknight at 9 p.m. (ET), the program also features phone calls from viewers around the world. CNN's Larry King Weekend airs every Saturday and Sunday at 9 p.m. and offers in-depth profiles and career retrospectives of news and entertainment figures. In June 1994, King created the first daily radio/TV talk show by simulcasting CNN's Larry King Live on Mutual/Westwood One radio stations nationwide. King has been asking famous people questions throughout his career, having accumulated more than 40,000 interviews, including every U.S. president since the Ford administration. King's famed NAFTA debate between Al Gore and Ross Perot in 1993 broke cable industry ratings records (outside of the first night of Gulf War coverage) and obtained the highest rating in CNN history--reaching more than 16.3 million viewers. In 1995, King showcased his extraordinary skill in international diplomacy when he hosted a historic hour on the Middle East Peace process with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. King's award-winning jailhouse interviews include: convicted murderers Sante Kimes and her son, Kenneth; Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in Texas; and Mike Tyson.

During the war with Iraq in 2003, King hosted live shows for 29 consecutive days hosting Generals Richard Myers and Hugh Shelton, Queen Noor of Jordan, captured Newsday journalist Matthew McCallester, families of POWs and ambassadors from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. Other exclusive guests appearing on Larry King Live in 2003 include former President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister John Major, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Penn, the "Central Park Jogger" Trisha Meili and Paul Burrell, butler to the late Princess to Diana. In 2002, King had more than 60 exclusive interviews. Those included the first television interview with then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott after Lott's remarks that caused him to resign his position; former President Jimmy Carter's first interview after being named the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner; interviews with the family of the D.C.-area snipers; actor Harry Belafonte regarding his controversial comments about Secretary of State Colin Powell; a sit down with Bill Clinton regarding his Sept. 11 scholarship fund; Erin Runnion, mother of murdered 5-year-old Samantha Runnion; multiple exclusive breaking news interviews the night Robert Blake was arrested; a live hour with Mariane Pearl, widow of slain journalist Danny Pearl; and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's first interview. After 2001's Sept. 11 attacks, King interviewed more than 700 guests, including more than 35 world leaders and dignitaries. In 2000, King's 37 consecutive days of political coverage during the election recount in Florida featured 348 guests, including George W. and Laura Bush and Al and Tipper Gore with both respective vice presidential candidates giving King their first interviews after being selected as running mates.

For more than four decades, King has consistently made headlines night after night with such high-profile guests as Tony Blair, Marlon Brando, Barbara Bush, Johnny Carson, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Gleason, Mikhail Gorbachev, Billy Graham, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Hope, L.Ron Hubbard, Michael Jordan, Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Dr. Martin Luther King, Monica Lewinsky, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Al Pacino, Prince, Nancy Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Pete Rose, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey and Malcolm X.

Described as the "Muhammad Ali of the broadcast interview," King has been inducted into five of the nation's leading broadcasting halls of fame and is the recipient of the prestigious Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism. Both his radio and television shows have won the George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. King also has won a News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Interview/Interviewer and 10 CableACE awards for Best Interviewer and for best Talk Show Series.

In 2003, King won the prestigious Gracie Allen Award by the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television for his interview with former first lady of Texas Nellie Connally. In 2002, King was nominated for an Emmy Award for his interview with Sir Paul McCartney in addition to receiving two New York Festival Awards for his Sept. 11 coverage and again for his interview with McCartney. King was also selected to be an Olympic Torch bearer for the 2002 Winter Games. King received the Unity Award for excellence in public affairs, reporting on minority issues from Lincoln University of Missouri and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Public Service Award for his programming on depression in 2001.

King was also crowned Bacchus XXXIII at the 2001 Mardi Gras in New Orleans and was presented the keys to the city. In 2000, King received Harvard University's Mahoney Award for increasing public awareness about neuroscience and the March of Dimes' Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award for his efforts on behalf of community volunteerism. In celebration of 40th anniversary in the broadcasting industry, Hollywood honored King in 1997 with a star on the Walk of Fame for his life's work. In 1996, the American Academy of Achievement honored him with the Golden Plate Award for his life's work in the broadcasting industry. In 1994, he received the Scopus Award from the American Friends of Hebrew University and in 1993, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts named King "Talk Show Host of the Year." He has received honorary degrees from George Washington University, the New England Institute of Technology, Brooklyn College and the Pratt Institute and was a recent commencement speaker at Columbia University Medical School.

Entertainment Tonight called him the "master interviewer," and King has made cameo appearances in 21 movies including Ghostbusters, Primary Colors, Contact, The Kid, The Contender, America's Sweethearts and John Q. King has appeared in such television series as The Practice, Arliss, Murphy Brown, Frasier and Murder One.

Before broadcasting to an international audience, King was a popular media personality in Miami where he hosted interview programs for WIOD-Radio and WTVJ-TV. From 1978-1994, King's voice was heard by millions of radio listeners on Mutual Radio's The Larry King Show.

In addition to his broadcast credits, King founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars and provided life-saving cardiac procedures for nearly 60 needy children and adults. King also recently established a $1 million journalism scholarship at George Washington University's School of Media and Affairs for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Larry King is married to singer/actress Shawn Southwick-King and is the father of Andy, Larry Jr., Chaia, Chance and Cannon.


CNN Renews Deal with Talk Show Host Larry King

CNN has renewed its contract with veteran talk show host Larry King in a deal that keeps the cable news outlet's top-rated personality at the network through 2009, the network announced on Wednesday.

The contract extension, which network sources said would pay King nearly $7 million a year, ensures that CNN's flagship program remains intact for four more years as the network battles further prime-time losses to archrival Fox News Channel.

Airing at 9 p.m. on weeknights, "Larry King Live" will mark 20 years on CNN in June, and King's latest renewal will take the 71-year-old host through the 50th year of his broadcasting career.

"I've had a great relationship with CNN. It's my family," King said in a statement given to Daily Variety. "I'm looking forward to many more years with the network."

Hunching over his microphone in shirt-sleeves and suspenders, the throaty-voiced King has hosted politicians and entertainers of every stripe.

Going back to his pre-CNN days, King has interviewed every U.S. president since Gerald Ford. His program has long been a talk show of choice for celebrities looking to go public with potentially embarrassing or controversial news.

So much a part of the pop culture has he become that King has made cameo appearances as himself in more than 20 movies over the years. And while some detractors fault him for an interview style they see as letting guests off too easy, a recent study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism credited him as the cable television host least likely to offer a personal opinion on the air.

''Larry King Live'' is CNN's most watched program

FOX News Channel dom inated the cable news ratings in 2004.
Of the most-watched cable news shows of the year, CNN's only entry to crack the top 10 was "Larry King Live" — once the most popular cable news show on TV.

It ranked sixth, surrounded by a sea of FNC shows, according to ratings released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research.

Without NBC's Olympic coverage, spread across several of the broadcast network's cable channels, MSNBC and CNBC may not have even made it into the top 20. As it stands, MSNBC's only top 20 entry was ranked 14th thanks to the Games, and CNBC's was ranked 18th, also because of last summer's sports telecasts from Athens, Greece.

The top-rated cable news show of the year was "The O'Reilly Factor," with an average audience of about 2.4 million viewers. It was followed by FNC's "Hannity & Colmes" (1.8 million viewers) and "The Fox Report with Shepard Smith" (1.5 million viewers).

After "Larry King Live," CNN's next most watched program was "Newsnight with Aaron Brown," which was ranked 13th and drew about 730,000 viewers. CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports," "Paula Zahn Now," "Lou Dobbs Tonight" and "Crossfire" ranked 15th, 17th, 19th and 20th, respectively.

Fox News Channel is a division of News Corp., which also owns The Post.


What’s on Larry King for 2005?

Two thousand and four was the year when malfeasance discovered niche marketing. There was something for everybody on the rap sheet. Sports fans had Kobe Bryant. Music fans had Michael Jackson. Park Avenue had Martha Stewart. Boardrooms had Conrad Black. Hollywood had Michael Eisner, Michael Ovitz and the shareholders of Disney facing off in Delaware over Ovitz’s $140-million payoff.
 For cable TV, the Peterson trial was the clear winner. This year the case was beaten to death on “Larry King Live” no fewer than 33 times. The liberating lesson was the same one the networks learned a few seasons back with the reality show explosion: You don’t need a big name to have a big hit.
 Take the ongoing Robert Blake case. As a B-list celebrity and the erstwhile star of “Baretta,” Blake may have looked a promising bet when he allegedly fired a vintage World War II pistol at his wife Bonny’s head in 2001, but he’s old and weird and doesn’t play in the demo. Plus you can’t win the Lifetime audience with a victim who was a lousy grifting mother with a long record of fleecing rich men and a thriving mail-order porn business. In death as in life, Bonny Lee Bakley Blake remains doomed to be a wannabe star.
 The demand for sensation is so great that the system will now happily invent celebrities to fill any gaps. What matters is to be able to identify with the demographics.
 By the time The Process was finished, the sunny housewife from Modesto married to the cute fertilizer salesman with a roving eye was almost as big in victim terms as Nicole Brown Simpson in the O.J. case. All it took was the blonde factor, and class.
 That was the only major difference between the disappearance of Laci and the almost identical but largely unremarked October 2002 death of Hawaiian, working class Raye Rapoza, a “mystery” that was solved when her husband Eddie went to trial for driving his seven months’ pregnant wife Raye and 4-year-old daughter off a Moss Beach cliff into the ocean. Bigger than a lack of suspense though, the Rapoza case didn’t have a Caucasian femme fatale to root for. The Peterson case had two: Amber with the hair and Laci with the smile, the two all-American Marys of cable TV.
 I predict a short run for the latest piece of Grand Guignol that’s currently screaming through the tabs. The case of the doggie-loving, fetus-snatching murderess Lisa Montgomery surfaced just in time for Christmas. There’s a lifestyle problem. Who can really relate to a Kansas-dwelling rat-terrier enthusiast who decides that rather than go through the hassle of adoption procedures she will drive across the state line to Missouri and rip the baby out of the womb of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a pregnant dog breeder she met in the Internet chat room frequented by the rat-terrier set? In murder-appeal it is to the Peterson case what Jerry Springer is to Oprah — a daytime freak show at its most alienatingly grotesque.
 Who will come back? The Michael Jackson circus coming in the first half of next year may still end in acquittal. At this point he may be too bizarre even for prison. Kobe Bryant seems to have hurt his reputation more lastingly with his fans by dissing Shaquille O’Neal than by being accused of rape. Conrad Black will probably turn into Mad King Ludwig. Bernie Kerik will have to start a new career as head of security for a five-star hotel in Jeddah if he doesn’t wind up in the Big House for his organized crime connections. Only Martha Stewart is poised to be bigger than ever. Her trial had it all. The lifestyle, the name recognition and the ever-present cliffhanger of whether we could get her to acknowledge hubris.
 All that ’90s perfection in the kitchen was getting old anyway. In jail she’s been able to retool her market positioning on a captive focus group. As CNN’s legal correspondent Jeffrey Toobin told me, “She seems to have done more deals not talking business during prison visits at Alderson than most of her male counterparts do from the Four Seasons.’’ The microwave in her cell is already cooking up Act Three from a dish full of crow. And she’ll be coming out in March blonder than ever.

Larry King Recalls a lost Jewish world

''Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish'' by Alan King and Friends.

We choose how to remember our childhoods. With each generation, the nostalgia for the previous one seems to get more intense. Could it really have been as good and warm and loving as so many seem to remember?

Reading the tender recollections of Jewish family life in America during the 1930s and 1940s in Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish has convinced me that perhaps for a time it really was wondrous. Or at least I'd like to think so.

The book features short remembrances by Jews from all walks of life. There are contributions by Alan Dershowitz, Bernie Siegel, Faye Moskowitz, Neil Sedaka, Jerry Stiller, Ed Asner, Neil Simon, Melissa Manchester, Don Rickles, Daniel Schoor, Larry King, Judd Hirsch, Sid Caeser, Billy Crystal and many others.

Famous lawyer and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz recalls growing up on the same street in Brooklyn, N.Y., with Sandy Koufax and Jackie Mason. When Jackie Robinson was allowed to become the first black player to join the Brooklyn Dodgers, Dershowitz began to believe that he too could become whomever he wanted, maybe even president.

According to Dershowitz, "Brooklyn in the 1940s and '50s was a place where hope ran supreme and optimism knew no bounds. The Depression was over. We'd won the war. Parents had jobs. And the streets were our playground. We could play anywhere, do anything, without fear."

Television celebrity Monty Hall was brought up during the Depression, living in one house with 14 relatives and one bathroom. He believes that living so closely together brought about "a close bonding of family, respect for the older generations, and terror for your bladder."

Bethesda's Daniel Mariaschin, who spent most of his adult life working for major Jewish organizations, including B'nai B'rith International and the American Zionist Federation, remembers an upbringing in rural New Hampshire where there were not many other Jewish families. When he would accompany his father to shul on the High Holy Days, they would have to travel to a nearby town where there was a synagogue.

He remembers sitting proudly with his father in shul, watching him pray: "He davened with such kavanah -- devotion -- that I surmised, in my 10-year-old mind, that this was the most important thing one could possibly do. I often lost my place, and he would pause, without missing any of the prayers himself, and point to the place in the siddur where we were in the service. Without telling me, he conveyed respect for the whole notion of prayer."

Author Faye Moskowitz, chair of the English Department at George Washington University, describes the spell her grandmother cast over her and her family: "Who could doubt that our bobbeh was a magician? We had only to watch as she turned a simple ball of thread into lacy snowflakes with a wave of her tiny crochet hook. And the cookie jar that seemed to have no bottom, forever brimming with the nut-studded mandel bread: Wasn't that something out of a fairy tale?"

National Public Radio's Susan Stamberg recalls thinking the whole world was Jewish when she grew up in 1950s Manhattan.

She later learned that not every place is New York and writes: "Neither is Washington, DC, where I've spent my adult life. Yonah Schimmel? Knishes? Stuffed derma? We don't have a single decent deli in our nation's capital! You can't buy a rye bread with any zest to it, let alone find pastrami that makes your mouth water just ordering it. Sometimes I wish the whole world was Jewish. Usually on weekends. At lunchtime."

Other current and former area residents in the book include Jay Winik, Larry King, Fred Zeidman, Stuart Eizenstat, Sheilah Kaufman and Warner Wolf.

Movie director Nicholas Meyer grew up in a secular home; his father was a psychoanalyst and his mother a concert pianist. He remembers thinking that "Jews were people who read books with hard covers, performed chamber music in their living rooms and thought Adlai Stevenson was the cat's pajamas."

Meyer thinks of himself as a Jew, but prefers to define it for himself as a cultural identity, "I am a liberal Democrat; my religion, like my parents', is art."

The authors of this charming and heartfelt collection seem to be mourning yet another lost Jewish world. They take great pride in writing about their parents and grandparents, and they do so with a nostalgic reverence that is touching, and sometimes sad.

Many of these writers have become very successful in their chosen fields, which has brought them tremendous material wealth and fame beyond what they ever imagined, but it has not brought back the familial intimacy they once cherished, when it seemed like everything one wanted or needed was literally within their grasp.

Now their own children have scattered, and their parents are gone. Only memory is left, and that for some of them, is fading, too.

Joel Gray worries that "my kids are now so assimilated that they don't have what I had É that's a shame É a lost world."

This little book will give them a glimpse of what they missed.


Larry King's On-line Audiobook Club in 2005

Celebrity Newsletter LLC and MediaBay, Inc., (Nasdaq: MBAY - News) a leader in spoken-word audio entertainment, today announced that they have signed a multi-year agreement to develop television personality and syndicated talk show host, Larry King's, On-line Audiobook and Entertainment Club which will be launched Q1 of 2005.
The Emmy Award winning Mr. King is a journalist with global recognition, high credibility, and a broad range of literary expertise. We believe that we can utilize Larry King's celebrity brand and credibility to attract members to our new club, at reduced acquisition costs, creating an excitement similar to the Oprah Book Club, which today has over 330,000 members. We want the Larry King Audiobook Club to quickly become a leading on-line brand," said Jeff Dittus, CEO of MediaBay.

Mr. King stated, "I love audiobooks. I have recorded a number of books and listen to audiobooks whenever I can. I believe audiobooks actually increase the number of hours in every day because I can catch up with my reading while traveling or exercising. I am delighted that Celebrity Newsletter has teamed up with MediaBay, the leading audiobook company to expand the audience for audiobooks and promote more listening. I plan to be actively involved in selecting titles and encouraging more listening. I am truly excited about this great opportunity."

This agreement further reinforces MediaBay's new sales and distribution initiative begun with the recent announcement of its digital media distribution strategy followed by the announced agreement with Microsoft® to deliver audiobooks to the MSN Music Service which will be exposed to the 350 million unique monthly visitors to MSN® in the United States.

"We are designing The Larry King Audiobook Club to meet, what we believe, are our customers needs for an easy to use online retail experience offering our vast library of audio content in any format our customers want -- tape, CD or download. We are working to give our members more choice, better customer service, and great prices for repeat buyers. In addition, we plan to offer a variety of exclusive audio content and entertainment to our members as an added benefit of membership. By offering greater value and improving customer satisfaction we hope to create a scalable club model that will be profitable for our shareholders and as well as our publishing partners," Mr. Dittus stated.

"On behalf of Celebrity Newsletter LLC we are thrilled to develop this innovative partnership between two Industry leaders. Working with MediaBay we plan to create many more opportunities for consumers to enjoy Larry King's unique content on new platforms," said Drew Sheinman, Founding Partner, Celebrity Newsletter LLC.

MediaBay maintains a library of over 75,000 hours of spoken word content that includes 25,000 hours of audio books and 50,000 hours of famous Old Time Radio shows, including The Shadow, Amos and Andy, Jack Benny, Dragnet, Gunsmoke and more. The company's newly digitized content will be available to club members through personal computers and digital hand held devices, such as windows media enabled PC's, CD burners for personal use, cell phones, and a growing number of other portable digital devices using the Microsoft Windows Digital Rights Management System.

Lawsuit against Larry King

Lynn Redgrave's ex-husband reportedly is suing CNN's Larry King over a segment on his show during which the actress discussed her divorce.

Redgrave talked about the end of her 30-year marriage to actor John Clark when she appeared on Larry King Live in 2003 Celebrity Justice reported Tuesday.

Redgrave told how her husband broke the news in 1998 that he fathered a child with his former assistant, a woman who had since married the couple's son. The child, Zachary, whom Redgrave had treated as a step-grandson, was actually her husband's child.

I don't know how I dealt with it. I went to a shrink, Redgrave said to King.

When King said, One would think after that many years, you knew your husband, Redgrave answered, You would. And I didn't.

In the suit, Clark alleges King ignored his email requests to offer a rebuttal and he was never asked for his side of the story, CJ reported.


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