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NATPE: Larry King back in comfort zone

Veteran broadcaster looks to past and future in NATPE push

Larry King is happy to be back in familiar territory. The veteran yakker came to the NATPE confab here this week to promote his fledgling online show “Larry King Now,” and the trip had the added benefit of bringing him back to the city where he got his start in media more than 50 years ago.

He doesn’t recognize much of Miami any more, let alone the Fontainebleau hotel where the confab is being held. “It’s a little too big now,” he said. He recalled the days in the early when he hosted a nightly radio show from a yacht anchored across the street from the hotel (it was the vessel used in the ABC series “Surfside 6”). The Fontainebleau provided the food for the show. “The waiters would just roll the carts across the street to the yacht,” he recalled. “It’s very different now.”

As for his professional life, King noted that the more things change the more they stay the same. After leaving CNN two years ago, he now hosts a nightly half-hour interview show, “Larry King Now,” for Ora TV, an online network financed by one of the world’s richest men, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim.

“I’m still doing what I did 55 years ago, asking questions of people,” King said.

He’s had no trouble drawing guests for the show, which is shot at a studio in Glendale, but he misses being in on the live breaking news action. “Now” episodes typically air a day after they’re taped.

“I do miss being able to stay on top of a story that is breaking right now,” he said. Instead, the new show is “very casual setting — a little more intimate with the guests,” he said.

Ora TV is getting traction through its distribution partnership with Hulu Plus. And reps for King’s show were busy at NATPE setting up international syndication deals for online and TV.

For the first time in his long career, King is happy to be in a position to call some of the shots as a partner in Ora TV.

“I don’t answer to suits anymore,” he said. He’s also impressed by Slim’s vision of where the media biz is heading. He sees more media deals on the horizon for the mogul.

“He’s very progressive. He’s really into where technology is going,” King said.

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