Larry King Live
is an American talk show
hosted by Larry King
. The show debuted in 1985, and is CNN's most watched
(and currently longest running) program, with over one million
broadcasts from CNN's Los Angeles studios. Sometimes, the show broadcasts from CNN's
studios in New
York and sometimes from Washington, D.C., the city where King gained national prominence
during his years as a radio interviewer for the Mutual Broadcasting
Every night, King interviews one or more
prominent individuals, mainly celebrities
, 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
. Larry King is currently expected to stay with
mainly conducts interviews from the studio, but he has also
interviewed people on-site in the White House, 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
, 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
had King note that he sometimes slips hard questions
in between softballs. King prefers one sentence questions. In the
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)
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
. At times, prank calls
come in. The phone number for
call-ins is 1-800-676-2100.
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
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
, and atheist
. King has also had topics
about UFO's and Extraterrestrials where he pits experts against
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
After the death of a prominent celebrity, King will either replay a
recent program featuring said celebrity (for instance, after actor
' death in 2006 King replayed
the interview with Knotts and Andy
taken several months before) or will bring on family
members and close confidantes to the deceased to reminisce on the
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
, as King and his guests
use lapel microphones
- 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
- 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 Tech. 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
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
High School massacre. However, with Gore's candidiacy for
Presidency pending, CNN decided not to let him host as a result of
In recent years when King has been absent other interviewers have
substituted for him.
- Ryan Seacrest has substituted for
King many times.
- CNN Headline News host
Nancy Grace has substituted for King
many times including October 31, 2003, regarding the Scott Peterson case.
- On April 1, 1994 and 2002 Kermit the
Frog hosted the show, as an April
- On February 16, 1998, Dan Rather
hosted a show regarding the then-ongoing Iraq crisis. He also
hosted on October 19, 2000 with Jay Leno as
- On March 29, 1996, Newt Gingrich,
the House hosted with Jack Hanna
serving as the guest.
- On October 16, 1998 Wolf Blitzer
hosted the show with the subject matter being the Matthew Shepard case. He also hosted the
March 18 and March 19, 2008 episodes.
- On May 22, 2000, Kathie Lee
Gifford hosted while Diane Sawyer
and Joan Rivers were the guests.
- On November 30, 2000, Roger
Cossack interviewed John Ashcroft,
who had just been defeated by Mel
Carnahan. Carnahan, who died, was replaced by his wife,
- On January 22, 2001, Bob Schieffer
hosted a show about campaign finance
reform with John McCain as a
- On June 8, 2005, sportscaster Bob
Costas was named as the regular substitute anchor for the show,
filling in roughly 20 times a year and not on a set schedule.
- On August 18, 2005, Chris Pixley
hosted the program instead of then-regular guest host Bob Costas,
who did not feel comfortable with the subject matter, the Natalee Holloway case.
- On September 12, 2005, Dr.Phil
hosted with the subject matter being the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He again sat as guest
host on February 27, 2009, interviewing various people concerning
the Suleman octuplets.
- Comedian Bill Maher has taken up the
duties of guest host.
- On March 2007, Mike Shiver sat in as
guest host for a couple of shows.
- On April 2007, Star Jones hosted
- On April 6, 2007, Jimmy Kimmel
- On July 24, 2007, former attorney and TMZ.com managing editor Harvey Levin guest hosted the show, the topic
of discussion being Lindsay Lohan's
arrest of that morning.
- On March 11, 2008, John
King hosted 2008,, July 26, 2008, November 21, 2008, and
January 28, 2009.
- On March 17, 2008, Dr. Drew
- On July 21, 2008, Glenn Beck
- Joy Behar has hosted the show many
times in the past including October 19, 2007 and November 14,
- On July 26, 2008, Kathy Griffin
hosted for an episode featuring paparazzi.
- On March 12, 2009, Jeanine Pirro
- On March 11, 2009, Sanjay Gupta
- On March 9, 2009, Ali Velshi
- On March 27, 2009, Tavis Smiley
Larry King in fiction
- Larry King appeared as himself during two fictionalized airings
of his show in the book and movie Primary Colors. First, he was part of a
presidential campaign's effort to discredit an embarrassing audio
tape, and later he interviewed another Democratic candidate (played
in the film by Larry Hagman).
- Larry King is also featured in the film The Long Kiss Goodnight
interviewing a main character, and in the film Dave in which he interviews Oliver Stone who claims that the man claiming
to be the President of the United States is an impostor.
- Larry King's voice was heard in Ghostbusters questioning the credibility
of the Ghostbusters.
- Larry King most recently appeared in Jerry Seinfeld's Bee
Movie acting as the voice over for an animated bee named
"Bee Larry King" who ran his own talk show.
- Larry King Live was often seen on the White House televisions
in the NBC drama series The West
- Larry King Live was featured in the 1997 movie Contact directed by Robert Zemeckis.
The Larry King Live show is featured in two scenes.
- Larry King has appeared in a Marvel The Ultimates issue, interviewing Tony Stark while on a space trip with Shannon Elizabeth.
- Larry King has also appeared as himself on a number of
television shows, including Murder
One, The Practice,
Boston Legal, Shark, and Law & Order: Criminal
- Larry King has appeared in the movie Enemy of the State.
- Larry King was parodied in a season 1 episode of Adult Swim show Metalocalypse.
- Larry King is also frequently parodied in the Comedy Central show South Park.
- Larry King has been parodied on Saturday Night Live and has been played
by Kevin Nealon, Will Ferrell, Norm Macdonald, Jimmy Fallon, and Fred
- Tom Hanks' character in the movie
The Terminal looks at the television
screen at the airport and sees Larry King reporting on the crisis
- Larry King appeared as himself in episode 12 of the third
season of 30 Rock.
- Larry King appeared in two episodes of The Simpsons, entitled One Fish, Two Fish,
Blowfish, Blue Fish and Sideshow Bob Roberts.