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Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN. The show debuted in 1985, and is CNN's most watched (and currently longest running) program, with over one million viewers nightly.

The show broadcasts from CNN's Los Angelesmarker studios. Sometimes, the show broadcasts from CNN's studiosmarker in New Yorkmarker and sometimes from Washington, D.C.marker, the city where King gained national prominence during his years as a radio interviewer for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Every night, King interviews one or more prominent individuals, mainly celebrities, politicians, and businesspeople.

The one-hour show is broadcast three times a day in some areas, and can be seen all over the world on CNN International. Larry King is currently expected to stay with CNN through 2011.


Interview style

Larry King mainly conducts interviews from the studio, but he has also interviewed people on-site in the White Housemarker, their prison cells, their homes, and other unique locations. Critics have claimed that Larry King asks "soft" questions in comparison to other interviewers, which allows him to reach guests who would be averse to interviewing on "tough" talk shows. When interviewed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, King said that the secret to a good interview is to get the guest to talk about him- or herself, and to put oneself in the background.

A 1996 interview in the Washington Post had King note that he sometimes slips hard questions in between softballs. King prefers one sentence questions. In the Post interview, King also proclaimed that he prepares as little as possible for each program, does not read the books of the authors he interviews, and admitted that the show was not journalism but "infotainment." He said that he tries to project an image of earnestness and sincerity in each interview, and the format of the show (King in suspenders instead of suit and tie, sitting directly next to the guest) reinforces that.

In response to "'softball' questions" accusations, King says, "I've never understood that. All I've tried to do is ask the best questions I could think of, listen to the answers, and then follow up. I've never not followed up. I don't attack anybody — that's not my style — but I follow up. I've asked people who say this, 'What's a softball question?' They'll say, 'You say to some movie star, what's your next project?' To me, that's not a softball. To me, that's interesting — what are you doing next?"

Furthermore, King is no fan of the current generation of talk-show hosts, who he says use their guests as props or punching bags. He describes them as "I" hosts; he states they are more interested in lecturing their guests than in listening to them. "I hope I never do that," he says, "I'm not saying it's bad. If you watch Bill O'Reilly, that is Bill O'Reilly. It's not my cup of tea, I don't care for it, but I can understand why a lot of viewers do."


King accepts call-in questions on some nights, Callers are identified only by city and state/province, and generally not by name. Occasionally, surprise guests telephone the show and comment, like Governors, royalty, and celebrities. At times, prank calls come in. The phone number for call-ins is 1-800-676-2100.

Frequent topics

During major election coverage, the program may center on political analysis and commentary, as the show's airing generally coincides with the closing of polls in many states.

One of King's recurring topics is the paranormal. A frequent guest is John Edward of the popular television show Crossing Over with John Edward. Edward comes on the show and gives callers a free chance to supposedly communicate, via him, with their dead loved ones. King also had alleged psychics such as Sylvia Browne and James Van Praagh on from time to time to do readings and discuss the future. King sometimes allows skeptics such as James Randi to debate the psychics. In an April 2005 episode, King hosted a panel discussion regarding Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and atheist views on the afterlife. King has also had topics about UFO's and Extraterrestrials where he pits experts against skeptics.

King is also frequently accused of pandering to sensationalist news stories; for instance, the death of Anna Nicole Smith took up much of King's shows after the event, causing the cancellation of numerous guests and interviews that were already scheduled.

After the death of a prominent celebrity, King will either replay a recent program featuring said celebrity (for instance, after actor Don Knotts' death in 2006 King replayed the interview with Knotts and Andy Griffith taken several months before) or will bring on family members and close confidantes to the deceased to reminisce on the departed's life.

Set design

Each studio set features an identical colored-dot map of the world in the background and one of King's trademarks, a vintage RCA microphone, on the desk. The microphone is a prop, as King and his guests use lapel microphones.


Notable episodes

  • The November 9, 1993 debate between Ross Perot and Al Gore on the North American Free Trade Agreement was watched in 11.174 million households - the largest audience ever for a program on an ad-supported cable network until the October 23, 2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
  • On September 25, 2006, Oprah Winfrey made her first endorsement of Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign for president on Larry King Live. Once Obama became a candidate, Winfrey made her first endorsement of candidate Obama on Larry King Live in May 2007. Two economists estimate that Winfrey’s endorsement was worth over a million votes in the Democratic primary race and that without it, Obama would have lost the nomination.
  • To mark the 20th anniversary of the show, ABC's Barbara Walters was a guest host and interviewed King on his reflections of his career.
  • To mark 50 years in broadcasting, Larry King Live had a week long celebration that included a two hour CNN presents special and an hour of celebrity toast. The broadcast of this special week long event was postponed due to the tragedy at Virginia Techmarker. XM Satellite Radio also featured a micro channel called "Larry!" that featured replays of The Larry King Show along with interviews and the new material from the CNN anniversary shows.
  • On July 19, 2007, a frail Tammy Faye Messner made her final appearance on Larry King Live to talk about her battle with lung and colon cancer. She died the following day.
  • On September 7, 2009, the first episode in high definition was aired.

The episode that did not happen

  • Al Gore was supposed to host on May 6, 1999 with Oprah Winfrey as a guest and the topic was supposed to be the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacremarker. However, with Gore's candidiacy for Presidency pending, CNN decided not to let him host as a result of the controversy.

Guest hosts

In recent years when King has been absent other interviewers have substituted for him.

Larry King in fiction


External links

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