In the first of what’s bound to be a zillion stories you’ll be reading on this blog about Larry King’s upcoming anniversary, The New York Times’ Jacques Steinberg profiles Larry King…
In interviews here both before a recent show (over blueberries and a purportedly “heart healthy” corn muffin at Nate ’n Al’s delicatessen) and afterward (veal schnitzel at Spago), Mr. King said that he felt terrific, notwithstanding the visible incision still healing on the right side of his neck. He said he hoped to hold forth on “Larry King Live” for 10 more years. At that time he would be 83. His current contract, which he said he would soon seek to extend, expires in mid-2009.
“What would it take to go?” he said, paraphrasing a visitor’s halting question as succinctly as he might on his own talk show. “If, God forbid, I had an onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s. That would be it. And what I would wish is that if I get that, no joke intended, that it happens on the air. Just to see how they handle it.”
Then, doing a caricature of his own much-imitated gravelly baritone, he imagined his next incarnation. “Live, from the nursing home in Livingston, here’s ‘Larry King,’ the only show hosted by a guy with Alzheimer’s,” he began, before posing his opening question: “Is it day or night?”
When his tenure does eventually end, Mr. King said his first choice to succeed him would be Ryan Seacrest, the “American Idol” host and disc jockey, presuming he is interested.