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Larry King Live

Maury Povich Plays `Twenty One' Questions

Aired February 17, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he hosts the show where a 21 could mean millions of bucks: Maury Povich is my guest for the entire hour. We'll take your calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.

He's an old friend. He's a formidable figure in the world of television. His daytime show is a major hit across the country, and has grown in leaps and bounds. And he's got a new career. He is a quiz show host, which is getting to be like "I stopped on the street and met a guy today who didn't have a quiz show."

But Maury, of course, hosts "Twenty One," which is doing very well in the ratings. Indeed last night, it won its time slot with a 16 share. It's seen on NBC -- what? -- twice a week now, right?

MAURY POVICH, HOST, NBC "TWENTY ONE": Twice a week. We haven't figured out...

KING: Soon to be three, four, five...

POVICH: No, I hope not. I like twice a week, and I'd like NBC to lock in the second night and give us a time period that we can be on every night and that Regis across the street doesn't come and stunt against me and try to kill me.

KING: Are you now Wink Martindale?

POVICH: No, no.

KING: OK. Are you a quiz show host?

POVICH: Well, I, you know, I'm a -- I'm a...

KING: What are you?

POVICH: I'm hosting a quiz show, but I never considered myself a game show host. I mean, I -- you know what I think I am? I think I am what you are and I think I am what Regis is. I think we're broadcasters. And I don't know how all of the...

KING: Gotfried (ph) could have done this show.

POVICH: Oh, sure. He'd have talked a lot.

KING: Why -- yes -- why did take it? I heard you had not -- first of all, were you offered "Millionaire" first?

POVICH: There were inquiries. People had talked to me about the possibility. And then nobody knew about it. And they said, we're going to do a primetime game show. And I went -- hmm. Are you interested?

And I went, well, first of all, I have to ask my company, Studios USA, which is owned by Barry Diller...

KING: Which syndicates your daytime.

POVICH: Which syndicate my daytime. I mean, that's my day job. That's the mother lode for me.

And they said: "Look, Maury, if you really want to do this, we might try to accommodate you. But if you're really not into it, we'd prefer you not do it."

And at that point, what did I know? A primetime -- I mean, wasn't "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" enough? So I went back, and they moved on and got very serious in discussions with Regis. And then I had little pangs of doubt afterward.

KING: Did you feel badly?

POVICH: Well, I didn't. But then it became such a big hit. Then subsequently NBC calls me up to do "Twenty One".

KING: Fred Silverman, right?

POVICH: Fred Silverman. And in fact, of all the guys involved, Fred and I are the only two people who had watched the original show, because Fred was...

KING: You're all young, right?

POVICH: Fred's like, you know -- I mean, he grew up in our era.

KING: "Twenty One" was my favorite quiz show.

POVICH: Me too. When I was a kid, I was -- I mean, I was like 17 years old.

KING: But you had to strategize it. You had to play it, numbers and...

POVICH: And it was appointment television. And at that time, huge money. I mean, that was big-time money, because you could win more than the $64,000.

KING: Right.

POVICH: You could win even more than that. So it was large money.

KING: So they twisted your arm or they... POVICH: No, then I got -- and then because of the history of the show, the fact that I watched it, the fact that it had a history, the fact that it was caught up in the rigging scandals of the '50s and because of my background as a journalist, I liked the idea. And in looking back on it, if you lined up all the shows today and you had me pick one of them, I'd pick "Twenty One."

KING: But in its heyday, in its fame, it was once a week. It was live, and you ran home to watch it. Now you tape shows over the weekend.


KING: They play them, right?


KING: Do you -- Regis told us he doesn't like taping. He has to tape, but he...

POVICH: No, I would much rather do it live. I mean, look, you do your show live for the most part.

KING: The best.

POVICH: I mean, you don't like it when you tape two shows...

KING: Hate it, right. Hate it.

POVICH: ... because you've got a conflict.

KING: You're live, you're on.

POVICH: Yes. And I tape my daytime show.

KING: Now, give us your schedule. This is the Povich schedule.

POVICH: Yes. Well, I work in New York Monday. I don't -- I'm not on the air Monday, all day at the office. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I tape two talk shows each day.

KING: Six shows.

POVICH: So, that's six.

Friday I go to -- tomorrow I go to California. Saturday I tape three "Twenty One" shows. And Sunday morning, I'm back on the plane to come home, and I start again next week.

KING: What does -- does Miss -- Miss...

POVICH: The Chunger?

KING: ... Mrs. Povich -- the Chunger and the baby say?

POVICH: Well, the baby -- the baby... KING: The baby's now four.

POVICH: ... now 4 years old. He said for the first time the other day, he said, "Daddy takes too many trips." So, that was the first inkling. That and Connie was not happy in the beginning.

But then when I told her why I thought I wanted to do it, the fact that the show has a history, the fact that I hadn't been on primetime in a long time, since "A Current Affair" and an evening audience, I kind of convinced her. And then when she saw the show -- she came out the first weekend -- she liked it. And she's rooting hard for it. But now with Matthew, I think I have to sit down and have a talk with him.

But I'll tell you this: I mean -- and I swore to Connie this and I told NBC this -- if the show goes into next year, they're on notice. It's coming to New York.

First of all, this is where we live. Secondly, Larry, you and I know -- how about live in New York with a great venue? Wouldn't that be great?

KING: Why not live?

POVICH: Live in New York, a great venue, great audiences.

KING: Are there lots of edits that they can't do it live?

POVICH: You know, it's not the edits so much. It's the fact that with these game shows, these quiz shows today, there are so many computer graphics, and everything's whizzing by with all of these various computer vehicles, that's their problem. They're afraid -- because once in a while they crash, and you don't get the question up, you don't get the multiple choice answers up, you don't get the money up right.

KING: In other words, when it was simpler, it was easier to do.

POVICH: Oh! Of course. You knew that. It's like the typewriter and the computer.

KING: Now, the key, though, do you like doing it?

POVICH: Oh, I love it. I love it.

KING: Why?

POVICH: I think because there's a lot of drama, there's tension. And I think it's the classic game show for the -- for America, and that is, it's -- it's like a board game. It's mano a mano, person against person. It's not a host asking questions. You either ask -- you have to strategize against your opponent.

KING: You make decisions.

POVICH: And that's how games, to me, that's how they always were in this country.

KING: And you're enjoying it.


KING: If you weren't, though, it would be terrible, right? Wouldn't it be tough to be a host of a show you don't like?

POVICH: No, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't -- I wouldn't like that. Would you? Come on.

KING: It would be the worst, right? The worst. I would imagine that's the...

POVICH: I mean, I'm sure -- I don't know whether you've done specials on occasion or you've done -- or you've been out of your element on occasion, and you say...

KING: Sometimes you are.

POVICH: ... do you say, what am I doing here?


KING: Our guest is Maury Povich. We'll be taking calls. We'll also be showing you scenes from that terrific quiz show, "Twenty One." We'll be right back.


POVICH: Do either of you wish to stop the game?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maury, I'd like to stop the game.

POVICH: David, you want to stop game?


POVICH: And you've just won $50,000.


POVICH: And you still are our champion on "Twenty One."




POVICH: Which one of these first ladies was not born in the state of New York?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was D, Jackie Kennedy.

POVICH: Unfortunately, it was C, Betty Ford. I'm sorry, Gloria. David, you've just won $100,000.




POVICH: What nuclear process is our son's primary source of heat and light?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's A, Maury.

POVICH: Fission? No. The answer, unfortunately, for you is C, fusion. I'm sorry, Tom.

David, you've just won $250,000.



Oh, my goodness!





KING: We're back with Maury Povich.

Did you have any negative side that one -- that show was a major scandal show?

POVICH: Well, you know, I liked that idea that it had that sordid background, that checkered background, because you loved the game, didn't you, back then? And I loved the game. And I think when I look back on it, we were kind of death stated when the rigging scandal happened.

KING: One of the worst days.

POVICH: So I think -- I really believe that the television public lost its innocence in the 1950s when all of this was proved to be rigged. We believed everything on television. I mean, you couldn't do anything on...

KING: That's right. If it was on TV, it was the truth.

POVICH: Anything that came out of anybody's mouth. And now, to -- when you're an impressionable teenager, like I was, to see that, you mean, they knew the answers? Charles Van Doren isn't that smart? I mean, they're not that brainy? Because if you look -- remember back then, all of these people were brains.

KING: Now what about the critique of your show, and of "Millionaire" and others that you don't have to be very smart?

POVICH: Well, I mean, you know, dumbing down -- I really don't believe...

KING: There were tougher questions than...

POVICH: Oh, no question.

KING: And the British company that's involved in that insurance thing now is complaining that they're not as tough.

POVICH: Yes, right. I know that. In fact, NBC they were very smart. They self-insured the show.

KING: They don't have a company...

POVICH: The money's all part of the budget. We don't have outside insurance companies. But at least with "Twenty One," it's very simple, we say out front, you want a four-point question, you're going to get an easy question, you go for a nine, or 10, or 11 point question, you're going to get a tough question, so they know that.

KING: Is that the same as it was...

POVICH: Yes, and that's the way it was back then, too, the easier questions...

KING: And are the 11-point questions as tough as they were years ago?

POVICH: Not -- well, there was a question back then now -- they had the answers, because I saw Van Doren knew it. He had to list the wives of Henry VIII, I mean six of them, all of their names, and how they died.

KING: You would never get...

POVICH: No, today...

KING: And do get multiple choice.

POVICH: You do multiple choice. But that's more for the public playing along, because the public is now very much involved in playing along with the guests on the show. But on an 11-point question, we have five multiple choices, and you have to give -- and there are two correct answers, and you have to give both correct answers, so that's pretty difficult.

KING: The kick you get is giving away money to people who need it?


KING: You're the Pied Piper?

POVICH: I mean, I love that, and it changes their lives. I mean, you just ran a clip of a man named David Legler.

KING: We're going to follow him along.

POVICH: You're going to follow him along?

KING: I think so, yes.

POVICH: He's a lieutenant in the United States Navy. He's a submariner. He was a recruiting officer. But he's been, you know, he's been in submarines for a long, long time. And this man's -- I mean, he could be in the service all of his life and not win this kind of money.

KING: Later, we'll talk about daytime talk, your success with it, but one of the things it's got labeled with is tabloid and, you know, the Springer approach. Do you think doing this is changing your image in a sense?

POVICH: No, in a way I think because of the way they're played today -- and I think Regis would attest to this, too -- that our talk show background helps do "Twenty One," because we find out that the viewers -- they're vested in these players and these people. They want to know about them. They want know...

KING: You're used to doing that every day.

POVICH: Yes, they want to relate to them. They want to know if their background is the same as the viewers' background. Is there any connection between the player and the viewer? And we can have fun. Yes, it's -- it works.

KING: Who came up with the gimmick of handing them the cash? Because they don't keep that, do they? You don't send them out of the building with $200,000. They're going to get mugged in the car.

POVICH: I almost want to think that either Scott Sasa (ph), the head of West Coast NBC.

KING: Our former Turner man.

POVICH: That's right.

KING: Great guy.

POVICH: Yes. Scott or Ted Harvard, the heard of NBC Studios, or Garth Van Seer (ph), who's the head of NBC Entertainment.

KING: Garth is 11 years old.


KING: He'll be forever 11. POVICH: And the only other man I will mention along with Fred Silverman, the executive producer, is the other executive producer, Phil Guarin (ph). And I've done my work, and I don't have to name drop anymore.

KING: One of them came up with the dollars?

POVICH: One of them came up and said, we're going to do it live. And I went what. Any every...

KING: You give them the money.

POVICH: Every week an armored truck, every time I tape the show, an armored truck comes up with about $2 million in cash in $100 bills. And I always said, I wonder how much this weighs. So I picked it up, because it was in one of these bags. It's about 40 pounds. It's pretty heavy.

KING: They don't take the money home, do they?

POVICH: No. We take the money, we give it to them. They march off. There are about three security guys offstage taking it away. There's people writing down all the -- so the IRS knows exactly what's happening.

KING: Do they get the full check?

POVICH: No. They get the money taken out, the money taken out and all of the rules -- that's the last thing you see on the show before...

KING: Do they get paid right away, though?

POVICH: Within I think 90 days they get a check for everything except the tax.

KING: But the feeling of that money is one of the great kicks.

POVICH: Well, how many people -- I mean...

KING: Whoever felt a million dollars?

POVICH: You know, half a million dollars. I have never saw half -- have you ever seen half a million dollars in cash?

KING: No, I have not.

POVICH: Neither have I.

KING: The saga -- well, except when I got the bonus for...


KING: Only kidding. When we were playing ball, remember that, the football player.

POVICH: Of course.

KING: We're both sports nuts, which is up with of the reasons -- Maury's father, by the way, the late Shirley Povich, one of the greats sports writers this country ever produced. His material, you can read it now like it was written -- 30 years ago, like written today.

Here's more of our saga on the gentleman on "Twenty One." Watch.


POVICH: For one point and $10,000, the headquarters of the Mormon Church is located in Salt Lake City: True or false/


POVICH: That is true. You have $10,000.

Scientology was founded by science fiction writer Robert Hainlein: True or false.


POVICH: That is false. Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. Throughout the world, there are more Christians than non- Christians: True or false.


POVICH: That is false. There are approximately 2 billion Christians, 4 billion non-Christians. You have $60,000.


POVICH: You're going to stop right there?


POVICH: That $60,000 along with the $205,000 gives you $265,000. But better yet, he's our defending champion.



KING: We're back with Maury Povich, the host of "Twenty One." When do you know the answer?

POVICH: I know the answers about 15 minutes before the show.

KING: You go over everything?

POVICH: I go through them only for pronunciation. Wouldn't it be stupid if the host doesn't know how to pronounce some word in a question or a name or something? So I just look for pronunciations. Nothing sticks in my mind in terms of what the correct answer is to anything. KING: And you also can't help the person because they really don't see you, right?

POVICH: They cannot see the live audience, because of the way the light hits the glass. They can see me only when they're being asked the question, and they go -- and they can't see me when I am talking to the opponent. And we've gotten a lot of calls about this, because people say they can hear applause, the opponent can hear applause, when the other person answers the question correctly. What they -- I keep saying this over and over again, I'll say, they play music and applause constantly in the ears in their headphones.

KING: They have no idea.

POVICH: So they have no ideas. They're getting applause whether somebody has answered the question right or not.

KING: We have "Twenty One," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," "Greed," and we learned today "Winning Lines" was just canceled by CBS. Too many?

POVICH: But you know something, I -- well, Les Moonves -- and he's an acquaintance, and I have a lot of respect for him. He was never onboard. He hates this. He hates the...

KING: He's the head of CBS.

POVICH: Yes. He hates the game show stuff. And he has some -- some justifiable complaints, because if these game shows are going on and on and on, who is going to be developing the comedies? Who is going to be developing the dramas? You're not going to have any time on your -- on your schedule.

KING: Game shows and magazines...

POVICH: Right, you're not going to have any -- you're not going to have enough time on your schedule to run new product. So he was never onboard.

And I -- he bought this show, "Winning Lines," and Dick Clark, who is a terrific guy -- and I have known him for a long, long time -- hosted it. I probably was on -- Saturday night is the worst night in the world to try to do anything on television. And that's where they stuck it, and it didn't work.

KING: What makes a good host? Good broadcaster to begin with, what else?

POVICH: Yes. I think you have to be comfortable with people. I think you have -- I think you have to kind of gain the trust of the public. You always -- I mean, it's like anything in broadcasting.

You also -- you know, I always believed this -- and it has -- goes back to talk shows and anything else else. And you -- we're all doing the same thing. We're knocking on the doors of television viewers every single day saying, can I come in? And will you feel comfortable if I come in and if you invite me into your home? And I think if you can get over that hump -- I mean, I think that's what it was all about with Cronkite in terms of trustworthiness.

KING: In other words, if you're too slick, it ain't going to work?

POVICH: No, no. No, it doesn't work. First of all, television viewers, they've been around a long time. They've been watching this thing now for 50 years. I mean, they know exactly what's happening when it comes to television programming. You can't put anything over on them anymore.

KING: Now, do you -- are you constantly feeling in conflict with -- with "Millionaire"? Do you feel like it's a -- a competitor?

POVICH: Well, I mean, they're...

KING: They're not against each other? They put you on one night.

POVICH: Yes, they just -- you know, when we have something good going, at the last minute they say, well, I think we'll just shove a "Millionaire" right against you and they hit us hard and beat us pretty good. I mean, they're kind of "Big Foot."

But it's interesting: They were first out. They've done 70 some shows. We've done nine.

KING: That's all you've done?

POVICH: Yes. And they think -- you know, I can turn it around and say they have enough respect for us that they're going to put "Millionaire" in there on a special night to try to clobber us. And that's OK.

But I've been -- you know, I've had it reversed with me. I mean, back in the days of "A Current Affair," we were the first kind of tabloid news magazine on the air.

KING: Sure were.

POVICH: And we kind of caught fire, and the whole world was interested in us. So I know what it's like being out there first, because then came "Inside Edition" and "Hard Copy" and "Extra" and all of these other shows. And so I'm on the other foot. My -- I'm...

KING: It's very -- and you also know it's hard to unseat the first one.

POVICH: Oh, it's very difficult. And I don't think we're out to unseat anybody. All we're trying to do is make a -- make a claim, you know? Put down our stake, and ABC doesn't want us to.

KING: Here's more of Maury and our friend on "Twenty One." Watch.


POVICH: Bill Clinton ran statewide campaigns for which two of the following presidential candidates?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: B and D, are you saying? George McGovern and Gary Hart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't remember (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But George McGovern and Gary Hart would be what I would say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. McGovern and Gary Hart.

POVICH: Well, you were half right. It was McGovern and Jimmy Carter. He was the other one. I'm sorry.



POVICH: Before he was adopted by his stepfather, Roger Clinton, what last name did young Bill use?


Count on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll go with that, A.

POVICH: You owe your father, eight points.




POVICH: Which one of the following stalked actress Jennifer Love Hewitt in the movie "I Know What You Did Last Summer?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't see the movie. I'm going to just guess A., a fisherman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maury, the answer's A, a fisherman.

POVICH: And you're correct. And you have 17 points.




POVICH: Do either over you wish to stop the game?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maury, I would like to stop the game.

POVICH: You want to stop the game?

You're a millionaire!



Thank you.




KING: So you are self-insured, so you don't have the insurance problem.


KING: Where do you see this going? Do you see...

POVICH: I don't know.

KING: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) if you start really doing well, let's do three times a week, let's do four times. I mean, do you see -- the danger that Moonves fears, do you fear?

POVICH: Yes. I mean, to me twice a week. I think in order to establish this particular kind of show, twice a week is terrific. "Millionaire" is on three times a week, plus, you know, they have these week-long things where they go on every day from time to time. I can't see that. But twice a week would be good. And I think, believe it or not, that the shows that are going to get hurt the worst quickest are the news magazine shows.

KING: Where your wife works?

POVICH: Where my wife works, at "20/20."

KING: Already canceled one of them, right?

POVICH: Right, because of "Millionaire."

KING: You're knocking your wife off the air.

POVICH: I know it. I know. I don't want to do that.

KING: Maury, I told you not to go.

POVICH: I have got to go home tonight.

KING: What do you -- what's with "Greed"? How is that doing on Fox?

POVICH: Well, "Greed," it's -- I just don't know how it's doing. It's doing OK. It's a little confusing to me. And it's kind of mean- spirited apparently. Apparently you throw people off each other's team.

KING: Speaking of ideas, what do you make of the CBS idea to put 10 people together in a house, run it stripped across the week live, and whatever happens happens.

POVICH: Yes, and apparently in the Netherlands when they do this...

KING: 75 percent total of the audience.

POVICH: Yes. But do you know what they're showing back over there? Shower scenes, sex. They're doing the whole thing.

No, I don't think Les is going to allow that on his channel.

KING: No. How do you think that'll do? That's a...

POVICH: It's an idea. It's an idea. But it's a summertime thing.

KING: Like "The Truman Show."

POVICH: Yes. It's a summertime thing. And trust me, if it works, Moonves would be glad to eat crow and put it on in the fall.

KING: Why does daytime talk still work?

POVICH: I think some does and some doesn't.

KING: There's a lot that's lasted now for...

POVICH: Yes, a lot of it's lasted. And some -- I think some of the -- of the shows that came along and tried to do the same thing in terms of a formula -- and I don't want to knock anybody in particular, but there are some shows that are not doing as well. In fact, in November -- and it looks like now in February -- we're the only daytime talk show up year to year.

KING: And Dianne Reeve (ph) has gone up...

POVICH: No, they're fun. Yes, that's -- that's more of a variety show.

KING: Yes.

POVICH: This is what we call a "single topic talk show." And we've taken a very different direction in the past year or so, because I mean, I don't know what it's like you raising your Chance and this other one coming along...

KING: You know what it's like to...

POVICH: I mean...

KING: There's nothing like it in the whole world.

POVICH: I mean, I have no clue what direction to -- so I'm -- I'm almost like the new parent out there. So I'm doing a lot of kid issues. I think the -- the biggest social issue in this country, and not one presidential candidate talks about it, is the relationship between kids and parents. There's more incivility, more anger, more temper, more meanness between parent and -- and kid today. It's just -- and so I'm -- I'm doing that.

KING: Are you trying to help it or play to it?

POVICH: No, I...

KING: There is that charge.

POVICH: No, I think -- what I'm trying to do -- I think you have to expose it. I think you have to show it. And then, of course, we use boot camps, and they're controversial, but we think they work. But now I'm down to -- because I asked these parents, "Well, what age did these kids start all of this stuff?" And they said, "Well, when he was eight, or when she was eight, nine and 10." Now I'm taking in the 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds with the parents who shout and scream and yell at each other.

KING: Ask you in a minute, why?

Maury Povich is the guest, the host of "Twenty One." We're showing you scenes from this -- there are very two very successful quiz shows. It's "Millionaire" and this one. And "Millionaire" was first; this one was second. "Twenty One" was the show that aired years ago we all watched as kids. Maury is its host. Here's another sample.


POVICH: NASA's launch site, Cape Canaveral, is located in Florida: True or false.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that's true.

POVICH: That is true. You have $10,000.




POVICH: Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the surface of the moon: True or false.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that's true.

POVICH: That is true. You have $30,000.

(APPLAUSE) Do you want to continue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll go another one.

POVICH: You're going one more.

For three points -- that makes it $60,000 -- Yuri Gagarin was the first Russian in space: True or false.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's true.

POVICH: That is true. You have $60,000 more.


Do you want to quit more or do you want to continue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's going to be -- that's all.

POVICH: That's enough?

See, that is a very conservative soul. He's going to quit right there because it brings him to $1,120,000.




KING: We're back with Maury Povich.

We're going to touch some other bases with Maury. A brilliant documentary out about Hank Greenberg, about which whom we're both very interested, politics, about which we're both very interested, and we're going to take calls for Maury as well, if you'd like to talk to him. Maury Povich is our guest.

Why this children-parent dilemma in an age of affluence?

POVICH: Because I don't think the parents learned any parenting skills. I mean, I think it's that -- I almost want to say it's my generation -- my kids' generation now -- because my kids are in their 30s -- those people, either by -- because of broken homes, because of one-parent home, because of latch key children, because of all of these things, because of the permissiveness of that generation, their parenting skills were lacking. They don't know how to take care of these 13, 14 and 15-year-old girls. I have these kids on the show all the time, and they're screaming these terrible things to their parents and the parents are screaming the same things back to them. Now I don't know about you, but somehow, when we got mad at our parents, when they got mad at us, they used a different language than we use when we got mad.

KING: They were the boss.

POVICH: That's right. And that's never gotten through.

KING: What changed? They weren't trained to be parents, were they?

POVICH: I think they're out. I don't think their discipline is there.

KING: What's it like to deal with it so much?

POVICH: Well, it's -- you know what it is? Because the kids come on with the parents, I'm -- they're -- I'm automatically in the game, because somebody -- that means there's something in that child that they want to change in themselves, and that's why they're there, and so I have a chance at that, and then when I shock them, and either take to them boot camp and put them -- let them see what these kids who get in real trouble, or take them to the morgue or take these over -- sex-addicted kids to former prostitute homes, or take the prostitutes, take -- ex-prostitutes, take them to the streets, and see what it's really like, and what stripers are really like and what that profession is all about, they get a wakeup call.

KING: Do you feel really that you're helping? Do you get the feeling...

POVICH: I think so. I think I am. I mean, we're pot going to help everybody. Our batting average isn't that good. But it's good enough. It's not just one kid. If I bring five kids on one of these shows, I guarantee you two or three of them are going to be different after the experience.

KING: Your audiences get very involved too, do they not?

POVICH: Oh yes, oh yes. And you know something, in a way they've got a lot of good answers too, because a lot of my audience, the daytime audience, they've been through what these kids and parents have been through; they've had to deal with this in their own homes.

KING: The age-old question we in broadcasting ask all the time: Why do they go on?

POVICH: I think there's a sense of desperation about them. I do not think it's a -- I don't think of the -- they think it's a performance.

KING: Ah-hah, I am on television?

POVICH: Yes, I don't think -- I think they're desperate. They have run out of every possible option that they have, and we're the last call for them.

KING: How about how well you're doing? You're -- in your time period.

POVICH: I mean, we're doing great. Our demographics are getting younger, and they love that in the television business. We're the only show from year to year of all -- I mean, that's from "Oprah" on down -- that has gained audience over the last year.

KING: You changed the show you were doing, right?


KING: The old "Maury" is different from the new "Maury."


KING: The old "Maury" also had one topic, though, didn't it?

POVICH: Yes, it had one topic, but it was a different company. I worked with Paramount then, and now I work with Studios USA.

KING: You're happy where you are now?

POVICH: Yes, it's good. I mean, I like it. I have a great executive producer, Amy Rosenbloom (ph). I get along with these people.

KING: Do you miss something that -- when I came to Washington, the first thing I saw you doing -- news, sports.

POVICH: You know what, I was very jealous of you the other night, hear you doing the debate in South Carolina, and that's what we always wanted to do when we were growing up in news.

KING: Me too.

POVICH: I have a wife who is totally immersed in news.

KING: You miss it?

POVICH: At times, I miss it. I miss this campaign. Boy, this is a good campaign, isn't it?

KING: Yes.

POVICH: Oh, this is good.

KING: Interesting people.

POVICH: Oh, yes . And I don't know John McCain too well. George W. Bush is a friend of mine.

KING: You knew him from baseball too, right?

POVICH: Not only from baseball, but we've played golf together. We have a group that used to go up to the Monterey Peninsula every year, and George was part of that. I like George a lot. I'm not -- I don't support any...

KING: You must know the Gores from Washington.

POVICH: I know the vice president. I've met the senator, Senator Bradley. I like all of these people. KING: Yes.

POVICH: Don't you? I heard the other night you said, hey, forgive me if I call you all by your first name.

KING: First name -- it's hard not to, yes. You like them.

POVICH: I know.

KING: And you give them credit. It's not easy to stand...

POVICH: But I think it's good, because I think you have four very competent people there.

KING: How about sports?

POVICH: Oh, wow.

KING: I mean, you grew up with -- you grew up at batting cages.

POVICH: I was the bat boy for the old Washington Senators during spring training in Florida in the late '40s and early '50s. I mean, to us, that was golden years. That was Joe DiMaggio, and that was Mujoe (ph), and Williams, and all of those guys, and they all trained in Florida, and we loved that, and...

KING: Son of a sportswriter. Wow.

POVICH: Son of my father, learned everything I knew about the news business at his knee.

KING: your father covered Ruth.

POVICH: My father covered Ruth. My father was at the Tunney- Dempsey fight, covered the '27 Tunney-Dempsey fight.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back with Maury Povich. We're going to ask him about a new documentary out that he's flipped about. I've read about and haven't seen, and we're going to take your calls.


Judge Judy tomorrow night.

Don't go away.

POVICH: I love her.


POVICH: In which two of these movies, did Julia Roberts not appear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to go with "A Time to Kill"...

POVICH: We need an answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and "Dying Young."

POVICH: "A Time to Kill" and "Dying young?" I'm sorry, Joe. The answer was "A Time to Kill" and "While You Were Sleeping." It's three strikes you're out of the game, I'm sorry.

Raheem (ph), you are the TV game show king, $1,060,000!




KING: We're going go to go to some calls for Maury Povich.

Clovis, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry, love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Just you don't become a game show host.


POVICH: You don't think he's in a game now?

KING: What do you think this is?

CALLER: He's in a top-notch show. But I want to ask Maury...


CALLER: ... about -- at the first part of your show, the debut...


CALLER: ... the contestants were picked by the audience.

POVICH: Yes, and now it's changed.

CALLER: It's at random. Why did they do that?

POVICH: I will tell you exactly how, and Larry will understand this, because this is what happens in television. They do research. You know, how they -- you do a show, you do research, and we go out and ask viewers what they think. And one of the complaints the viewers had was that the contestants were being picked by the studio audience, and they felt that these six contestants would be sitting there, and one would be left out again and again and again. They just...

KING: You felt sorry... POVICH: You felt sorry for this person.

KING: What were they voting on?

POVICH: They were voting on who would be the next challenger.

KING: The way someone looked or...

POVICH: Who knew. I mean, they would give a brief thumbnail sketch. This is so and so. This is lieutenant David Legler. He's at the Great Lakes Naval Station. He's a recruiting officer. He's married with two kids. Go to the next one.

KING: Are you having a problem that "Millionaire" is having, that Regis has complained about, with white males only?

POVICH: No. How about that? We have -- I would say -- I would say it's about 50-50 men and women. Some of our champions have been minorities. We've had none of that problem at all. I don't know why Regis. I don't understand what's going on with "Millionaire." I am surprised. We have what I consider to be a very equitable pool.

KING: Nashville, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Hi, there. It seems we've been through news-oriented shows, talk shows and now game shows seem to be hot.

What do you, Maury, foresee as the next popular genre of television shows?

KING: He'd be very wealthy if he knew.

POVICH: Well, I'll tell you one thing, "Do You Want to Marry a Multimillionaire," if you watch the Fox special the other night -- I mean, that show took everybody by storm. I mean, you might have missed it. It was the night before last.

KING: I missed it.

POVICH: It was the night before last. I mean, it was huge. It lasted two hours. They had one guy, a 42-year-old bachelor, who lined up 60 women, pared them down, got them out of in swimsuits, got them out in evening gowns, never had met this person. By the end of the show, he picks one -- he's a multimillionaire by the way, a legitimate multimillionaire -- picks one at the end of the show and marries them right there on the show in Vegas.

KING: Don't you see something gross in that?

POVICH: Yes, of course.

KING: That's the next thing?

POVICH: I mean, don't think it's not going to happen again.

KING: Hire me. I'll interview employee night. POVICH: I know. and the head of the Fox specials, Mike Darnell (ph), who I know, because I've done a special for Fox in the past said, well, we'll just have a woman multimillionaire and have men parade just to make it equal.

KING: Why do the nightly tabloid shows -- I remember when you started "A Current Affair" you came on my nighttime radio show.


KING: Early '80s.

POVICH: Everybody -- we were...

KING: You were saying we're starting this half hour show, we're going to give news about this person starting a fire, and -- why did that work.

POVICH: It worked because back then, we were doing stories nobody else was doing, and they were basically stories that the legitimate news organizations didn't think was news, and that could be the smallest story. I mean, I can remember one of our first stories was that there was a dog in Westchester County here in New York that was in a pound set to die because he had bitten a neighbor twice. If you bit a neighbor once, bite a neighbor twice, you're going to your great maker, and we go out there, and we cover this story, and we announce on the air that the dog has escaped from death row and has been placed in a witness protection program in Connecticut. I mean, these little stories, I mean, that's what we used to do.

We did the Mary Beth Whitehead surrogate baby story before anybody else. It was Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, remember we did that? And then all of a sudden "Nightline," remember "Nightline" did it? I mean, Ted Koppel was doing wall to wall Jim and Tammy Bakker. It was those kinds of stories that put "A Current Affair" on the map.

KING: Back with more of Mary Povich, more phone calls, other things to talk about, too. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Maury Povich.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hello.

CALLER: Hello -- Maury.


CALLER: I have a 15-year-old daughter who's run away.

POVICH: Well, when was the last time you saw her?

CALLER: Probably a couple of weeks ago.

POVICH: All right. I'll ask you the same question -- because Larry asks me, what's going on between kids and parents? Why can't you handle her?

POVICH: Well, Maury, I disagree with you when you're saying it's parenting.

KING: What is it?

CALLER: I believe in today's society with children. They see drugs. They see prostitution. They see this very enticing life that draws them into this great exciting new life...

POVICH: But all of those things in every era are out there, and somehow, the bond between parent and child is strong enough in good homes to hold that child from doing anything that drastic.

CALLER: Do you really think that, Maury.

POVICH: Oh, yes, I really do believe that.

CALLER: We have a very strong bond, but my daughter is being pulled in by prostitution, by drug addicts.

POVICH: You know that you as a mother can sit there and make the argument with your daughter...

CALLER: I need my daughter back. I don't want to argue. That's all I want.

POVICH: Would you do me a favor? Just call my office. Call the "Maury" show in New York city tomorrow, and we'll have somebody talk to you. Maybe we can help you, OK?

CALLER: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. Just call the "Maury" show in New York, listed, for the "Maury" show?


KING: Tell me about this Hank Greenberg documentary. I've been reading all about it.

POVICH: I saw it the other day, and I thought of you, because you grew up in Brooklyn, you're a great baseball fan, and I had always -- I mean, I knew Hank Greenberg much later in his life, when he was partner -- well, he ended his day -- his career in Pittsburgh in 1947, but played every other year in Detroit and -- but he also was Bill Veeck's partner at Cleveland and Chicago when Veeck owned those teams and Hank was his partner, and Hank was -- I mean, I don't know -- we're both from Jewish homes. Hank was the only Jewish ballplayer I had never known.

KING: As a kid.

POVICH: Never ever heard of.

KING: Until Al Rosen came along. POVICH: Right, until Al, until Al came along in the late 1940s, early '50s. Anyway, not only was Greenberg a great Jewish ballplayer, he was huge. He was 6'4", 6'5"; he was like a God. He was this great-looking guy. And they go back to his roots in the Bronx, growing up there. And I always remembered -- and I had a very small cameo in it, because the producer asked me a question. My father's in it: Of course, he followed Greenberg all the way through.

I mean, when my father said to me, you're going to synagogue -- Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur -- and I said, yes, but dad, there's a game. And he said, "If Hank Greenberg..."

KING: Can stay home.

POVICH: ... "can stay home..." It was the Sandy Koufax story as well. But Greenberg was the first that we knew of. And so I knew that at least twice a year my father was going to get me to that synagogue.

KING: Now there are two, Shawn Green...


KING: ... Lieberthal with Philadelphia.


KING: They're on the cusp.


KING: And of course, Koufax.

POVICH: Who knows?

KING: Who knows?

POVICH: Could be a renaissance.

KING: When we come back, we have to ask him -- he's a New Yorker -- about Hillary-Giuliani. And does he want to get into that? Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Maury Povich. In our remaining moments, do you want to cover Hillary-Giuliani? You live here.

POVICH: I love it, don't you?

KING: What do you make of that race?

POVICH: Well, you know, it's almost like -- I mean, I hate to use the sports analogy.

KING: Go ahead. POVICH: Let's say -- I mean, even her husband says, she's the manager, she's the coach, she's helped me all of these year. It's like the coach and the manager saying, I can play this game. So now she's in the race. And now you have to understand, it's one thing to be smart, be behind the scenes, pull some strings, you know, direct people. But now you're the candidate. Boy, you better -- you better be -- you have got to be a different soul if you're the candidate. You can't be that same person. The operative is always the worst kind of candidate.

KING: There's going to be no race ever like this one, right? I mean, well, no first lady has ever...

POVICH: It is going to be a knock-down, drag-out. This is going to be -- I mean, I -- I mean, that's another reason why I'm upset I'm not in news anymore. I would love to cover that race.

KING: Would you go back to news?

POVICH: You know, it's interesting...

KING: Nothing is forever.

POVICH: I mean, I don't want to say this about a competitor, but Roger Ailes is a friend of mine. And he said, anytime you want to quit this stuff you're doing...

KING: And go over to Fox.

POVICH: And go -- and go back -- I mean, look, I -- I'd -- I'd do it if I -- if I was tired of what I'm doing. I love what I'm doing. I mean, that woman's pain, talking about that child of hers -- I'm telling you, she'll call tomorrow, and we'll get on that case. And I love doing that kind of stuff.

KING: And you get the actual feeling of helping just like giving people money.

POVICH: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, yes. That's all.

KING: And that overweighs the fact that you could be covering Hillary-Giuliani.

POVICH: Yes, yes. It could. It's more important to me, because you and I know that, I mean, in politics, it can be, you know -- it's not as high-lofted kind of...

KING: There are low days?



KING: All right. What's it like being a father again? I know, but I'm asking you. Mine is still an infant.

POVICH: I -- I'll tell you one thing, don't you feel younger? I feel younger.

KING: Every day.

POVICH: That -- I mean, that's the biggest.

KING: Makes you feel alive.

POVICH: Feel alive, and you are watching something grow. And I think when we were younger, at least when I was younger and this was happening, I don't know. I didn't -- I didn't see it.


POVICH: No, I didn't see it. I couldn't...

KING: Yes.

POVICH: I didn't remember it. I didn't watch it the way I watch it now. I mean, it's like -- I mean, I watch this child. I mean, every week it's little different, he's doing something different. I love to watch his love for his mother. I love the relationship he has with Connie. I mean, they are so devoted to each other.

And I mean, I'm -- I'm just trying to be part of it. And it's a -- it's nice to have somebody at our age call us "daddy."


KING: Also, it's not near, you know, the trouble we thought it would be.


KING: You know, we thought it, well, oh, boy, was this going to cramp our lifestyle.

POVICH: No, no.

KING: The opposite.

POVICH: First of all, I think we give up some things.


POVICH: And happily. I mean, you know -- I mean, I -- Connie might argue with me, but I don't play as much golf as I used to play, and I don't do a lot of the things I used to do. And I -- I enjoy him. And I like to take him places. He comes into the office. Every time he sees the ABC newsroom with Peter Jennings, come on at 6:30 at night, he says, that's mommy's office, daddy. I said: "OK, son. All right. Where's my office?" He says, "Your office is next to Madison Square Garden."


KING: What was it like to grow up rooting for the Washington Senators?

POVICH: Oh, it was painful. I mean, it was painful.

KING: First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.

POVICH: It was -- in my years of remembering the Washington Senators from 1946, let's say, until 1961 when they moved to Minnesota, they didn't have a winning year. They did not have a winning year.

KING: In all of those great array of names.

POVICH: Oh, it's terrific. In fact, I heard from one the other day: Pedro Ramos.

KING: Pedro Ramos! He could bring it.

POVICH: I heard from him. He told me that they're having a kind of a little reunion in Washington next weekend, after this weekend. And I think he said Roy Sievers was going to be there, and maybe Camillo Pascual and maybe Harmon Killebrew and Jim Lemon.

KING: Could Major League Baseball come back there?

POVICH: It could come back in a second.

KING: Why don't they?

POVICH: Well, I think the Orioles will prevent it from being in the American League. And if I had to get upset at Major League Baseball, I think underneath everything they don't believe there are enough white people in the Washington area to support that team. And they're dead wrong.

KING: Dead wrong. And they got the two biggest per capita incomes in Fairfax and Montgomery County in the United States.

POVICH: That's right. That's right. And they've got all that Internet money sitting there. It deserves a team. It's a travesty.

KING: Couldn't agree more.

POVICH: Thanks.

KING: Maury, you're the best.

POVICH: Good to see you, Larry.

KING: Maury Povich, he hosts "Maury" daily. It's in its second season. The studio's USA, his own production company.

By the way -- we forgot to ask about this -- but they're working with Dick Wolf on possibly doing another type "Law & Order" show called Arrest & Trial." And of course, he's the host of "Twenty One" on NBC.

See you tomorrow night with Judge Judy. Stay tuned for a special presentation on CNN.

I'm Larry King. Good night.



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