(Nashville, TN)–Broadcasting legend Larry King was in town recently, to film interviews for a new season of his multi-Emmy nominated digital series “Larry King Now“ for Ora TV and Hulu. (http://www.ora.tv/larrykingnow). While in Nashville Larry taped interviews with Dolly Parton, Wynonna Judd, Scott Borchetta, Brothers Osbourne, Kix Brooks. Larry’s new digital series is a sit down interview type talk show, similar to the one he did on CNN (“Larry King Live”) but this digital series is more vast and casual. It features not just celebrities, but also social media stars, influencers, musicians, politicians, athletes, special events and all personalities alike.
Other exciting things going on include Larry King Now’s two recent Daytime Emmy nominations. This is the third nomination for the digital series within two years. It’s also the only digital series up against syndicated and traditional TV series. His “Larry King Live” show on CNN took 25 years to get 3 Emmy nominations, so for the new digital show to achieve three nominations within only two years is a huge accomplishment.
The master interviewer will celebrate his 60th year in broadcasting in May 2017. It’s estimated that Mr. King has completed over 60,000 interviews throughout his illustrious career, so far! In addition to promoting his always expanding broadcast career, he and his wife Shawn are promoting a fabulous new line of home bedding and linen called ‘Sleep Like a King.’
Here, in the following 2-part interview, Larry King chats about his new digital series, his amazing career and even gives us a glimpse into possibly having some songwriting talents.
TRIBUNE: Your last name was a prelude to the profession that you do so well. What an honor it is to speak with you.
L. KING: Thank you for saying that. I love your city. I’ve had a lot of great times in Nashville. I especially had a good time doing these latest interviews during my last visit. My wife was also on some of these interviews too. But people can see it all on September 12th when it airs.
TRIBUNE: Ok, I will make sure to tune in. From all of your visits to Nashville over the years, have you received your official cowboy hat and cowboy boots yet?
L. KING: “Yes, I was given those gifts by the mayor of Nashville (Phil Bredesen) about 20 years ago. I’ve probably been to Nashville at least 10 times or more. I’ve spoken at a couple of conventions there. I once spoke to the baseball writers meeting there; my wife’s sang at the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve also done many radio and television appearances. I always enjoy Nashville. The people are just wonderful.”
TRIBUNE: And so who are some of the names that we can look forward to seeing on the new season of the Larry King Now show?
L. KING: “Here’s what you’ll see. The first one is with Dolly Patton. I had a wonderful 35-minute interview with her. My wife Shawn was also on the set with me. We both interviewed Scott Borchetta (founder of Big Machine Records). Scott is an amazing producer and successful businessman. I know his father too. But Scott is being incredible with the amount of music talents he’s worked with. And then we interviewed Kix Brooks (Brooks & Dunn). A wonderful guy as well. We also interviewed The Osborne Brothers and Wynonna Judd. So it was five shows of interviews that are coming up. Over the years I have interviewed so many country stars starting with Eddy Arnold and Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and oh! My God the list is endless. I guess I’ve talked to every major country music star over the last 40 years.”
TRIBUNE: Are you a big fan of country music?
L. KING: “I like it a lot. I like all kinds of music except, I can’t get the hang of hip hop.”
TRIBUNE: Don’t feel bad. I also have a little trouble with a lot today’s hip hop sounds as well. (laughs)
L. KING: But I like country music. I like that the lyrics always have meaning. I even wrote the first line of a country music song, which I’m waiting for somebody to finish.
L. KING: You want to hear my song? In fact, you can steal it and I’ll get the credit! (laughs)
TRIBUNE: Sure! Let’s hear the line.
L. KING: This is it: ‘I’d rather be homeless than be home with you.’
TRIBUNE: If that’s not a country music lyric, then I don’t know what is.
L. KING: (he starts singing) ‘Yes, I’d rather be homeless than be home with you, living with you is such a drag. I’d rather be homeless than be home with you, you’ve become a fat old hag.’ You know, it’s one of those honky tonk style songs. But the title, ‘I’d rather be homeless than be home with you,’ is magic. Blake Shelton loved it.”
TRIBUNE: If you could select a singer to sing it who would that be?
L. KING: “I’ve pitched it to Dolly. Pitched it to Wynonna. I’ve pitched to all of them but I never hear back from anybody. I’m not a real songwriter but I think that I have a classic country title.”
TRIBUNE: It’s definitely custom made for country music.
L. KING: You never know. Boy, that’ll be a crown in my career. I’m 82-years-old and I write a country music hit song! (he laughs)
TRIBUNE: It can happen. It can really happen.
L. KING: “Push it for me Janice. You can do this for me.”
TRIBUNE: Ok, I’ll do it. I’m going over Scott Borchetta’s office and say, ‘Hey, what about pitching this song to some of your singers for Mr. Larry King?’ Let’s do it. I don’t see why not.
L. KING: “You got it!”
TRIBUNE: Ok, deal. And I will get to interview you when you accept your Grammy, the ACM Award and your CMT Award for Best Country Music Song.
L. KING: “Yes, I expect for you to be there!” (he laughs)
TRIBUNE: You’ve done over 60,000 interviews in your career. Who are a few of the most memorable for you?
L. KING: “There’s so many, from Frank Sinatra to Jackie Robinson to 7 presidents to Malcolm X to Martin Luther king to Nelson Mandela, various Nobel Peace Prize winners. I could never name them all.”
TRIBUNE: I always think that a celebrity hasn’t really made it big until they’re interviewed by Larry King.
L. KING: “I’ve being very fortunate. I often pinch myself every day. You know I was just this ordinary kid from Brooklyn.My father died when he was 9-years-old. I always wanted to be on the radio. That’s all I wanted to be. I never thought I’d have the career that I now have. I really feel blessed, fortunate and lucky. I certainly have God given talent but to be able to do something with that talent is a blessing. I respect what I do very much. I love the (broadcasting) industry. I have two teenage boys and two grown children. I’ve had some bad times but a lot of good times too. I sure consider myself fortunate. I’ve had a great life.”
TRIBUNE: I think we the public are very fortunate to have your body of work to forever listen, learn from and enjoy.
L. KING: And I’ve gotten a lot of honors you know. Emmy Life Time Achievement Awards, Peabody Awards, ten Cable Ace Awards. It’s a very subjective business. You need other people. A manager in some radio station had to like me when I first started out. Ted Turner had to like me to take me on CNN…You know it really does takes a village.”
TRIBUNE: Are there any famous names that you’ve wanted to interview but haven’t done so yet?
L. KING: “There are several. One would be Fidel Castro.”
Next week our chat with Larry King continues as he shares his thoughts about our two presidential candidates, who are long time personal friends of his; his views about the controversy surrounding NFL player Collin Kapernick and more.