King’s colleagues

TV hosts talk about the big man

Top broadcast interviewers rate the talk chief:

Ted Koppel
“Larry is one of the world’s greatest storytellers, and he was an amazing talent on radio. He would divide his time between spinning these great yarns, and then getting into heated exchanges with the members of the audience. And Larry can be very tough. But then when he got on television, he just became one of the nicest interviewers. If you’re going to be interviewed, you want to go on the Larry King show.

“It’s precisely because everybody thinks they have to be Mike Wallace from 30 years ago that people sort of grit their teeth when they come on a television program. And the fact that Larry is rarely confrontational makes people relax. And when they relax, then the conversation begins.”

Chris Matthews
“I love the way Larry never reads his guest’s book, or even pretends that he has. ‘So what’s your book about? So tell me about the book.’ He wants to have the same knowledge of the book as the viewer at home. And that’s the way to do it: Don’t act like the cognoscenti. He never acts like he’s the insider ever.”

Anderson Cooper
“Larry King is not judgmental. And because of this, he makes people comfortable. It sounds simple, but it’s not. He’s able to talk to generally anyone in a subtle, nonjudgmental way, and it makes his subjects comfortable enough that he can get information out of them. His noncombative style is one that you don’t see very often on cable news.”

Bill Maher
“Larry King is a minimalist. In a world where journalists often seem to be about their own egos, Larry’s show is about the guest, it’s about getting information out. That’s the secret to the Larry King show — it’s not about Larry King.”

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