Larry King’s Ora Talk Show Going International

Larry King
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“One of the problems they did was to oversell it. They said he was going to be dangerous, he was going to be water-cooler talk. It was, ‘Wait till you see me; I’m different.’ Well, he’s good, but he’s not that dangerous.”

In an interview at NATPE, King says a deal for expanded worldwide distribution is imminent. He also names his ultimate choice for a talk show guest: God.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Larry King told moderator Ross Levinsohn during a conversation at NATPE on Monday that he is about to sign an agreement to greatly expand the international distribution of his new on-demand Internet-only digital TV talk show on Ora TV.

King said afterward that the show, Larry King Now, will begin to be marketed and distributed in Australia, the U.K and elsewhere under a deal set to be sealed late Monday after a private event with international buyers and distributors. Content Television/Digital is handling international distribution.

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“I accept the new,” King told Levinsohn at the National Association of Television Program Executives event. King pointed out that he had been a pathfinder when he took his radio show national and when he did his talk show for CNN for 21 years, ending in 2010.

“I never knock the new,” said King, still full of energy at 79. “I never criticize the music kids listen to. I’m always open to new things. I’m always open to the adventure that is tomorrow."

King credited his wife Shawn Southwick, who was in the audience, for the idea of doing his latest show. King said he met billionaire Carlos Slim when he went to Mexico for a charity event and that Slim later came to his home in Los Angeles for dinner and asked what King wanted to do next. King’s wife suggested he do a new talk show on the Internet, and Slim agreed to provide financing.

In addition to Slim, the fledgling Ora network is financed by America Movil, which holds a minority interest. Ora -- Italian for "now" -- is led by CEO Jon Housman, and its content is also available on Hulu. The network has said it plans to add more shows in the near future. 

“When you marry a woman like that, you have to be open to it all,” said King, who has two sons with his Southwick. “She’s younger, and she’s open to it all. I advise everyone to take a chance. What have you got to lose? Take a chance.”

King described himself as a guy from Brooklyn who never went to college and said he still has to pinch himself at the success he has had in his life. He said that, along with talent, it also helps to have some luck.

Paul Newman told me once any successful person in any endeavor who doesn’t use the word luck is a liar,” said King. “Don’t ever be afraid to roll the dice. If you don’t, you’ll always regret it. This is an industry of taking chances. … You may fail, but you’ll always be yourself.”

King said that being genuine to who you are is the other key to success. “The only secret in the business is there’s no secret,” he said. “Just be honest.”

He said that's what he has done since his earliest radio shows in Miami and throughout a career that has made him a global celebrity.

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When Levinsohn asked King about the four people he would want as dinner guests, he came up with Fidel Castro, Jesus Christ, Frank SinatraAbraham Lincoln or Daniel Day-Lewis. Said King of the actor's Oscar-nominated performance in Lincoln, "He was that good." 

Added King: “You could ask each of them one question, which is, 'Why?' 'Why' is the world’s greatest question. It can’t be answered in one word and forces a guest to be thoughtful.”

King said his ultimate guest would be to have God.

“The first question I would ask God would be, ‘Did you have a son?’ Because if he says no, it’s chaos in the world. Then he would answer: “No, I have a daughter. Her name is Madonna.”