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Fears Over Fate of Missing American Journalist Daniel Pearl; A Look at NBC's 'Fear Factor'

Aired February 1, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Fears over the fate of missing American journalist Daniel Pearl. Has he been killed? In New York, the man who survived captivity during the Gulf war, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon. We'll get important insight from D.C. with "Washington Post" Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Bob Woodward. Also in Washington, he's reported from the front lines in Afghanistan, "Newsweek"'s Colin Soloway.

But first live with the latest from Karachi, Pakistan, where Pearl was last seen alive, CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman.

And then in Los Angeles, the host of one of TV's hottest shows, "The Fear Factor." Joe Rogan and death-defying feats. Wrestling star Chyna gets buried by scorpions. Celebrity Alan Thicke scales horrifying heights. And a lot more.

And it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's get an update from Ben Wedeman in Pakistan on this back- and-forth situation concerning our missing journalist Daniel Stern (sic) -- reports he was killed, reports there was other things going out, other requests going out for him, demands for money.

What's the latest from your bailiwick, Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Larry. It has been a long and agonizing night for many people here in Karachi. The real problems began at about 11:00 o'clock last night, when simultaneously one caller apparently contacted the U.S. embassy in Islamabad demanding $2 million and the immediate release of the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef within 36 hours in exchange for the release of Mr. Pearl.

At roughly the same time, an email was received by various news organizations, including CNN, coming from, saying that the kidnappers had carried out their threat to kill Mr. Pearl. They said the body could be found in the graveyards of Karachi and said that they are thirsty for the blood of another American. During the night, the Pakistani police has been working frantically, apparently searching the more than 200 graveyards in Karachi.

But until, Larry -- until now, Larry, there is no final word on the fate of Mr. Pearl -- Larry.

KING: Thank you very much, Ben. You'll be staying on guard for us throughout the night and throughout the day, doing terrific work there in Pakistan. Ben Wedeman with the latest.

Now let's talk with Bob Simon first in New York, who was held captive by Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf war.

Based on what we know and what Ben just reported, should we fear the worst?

BOB SIMON, CBS "60 MINUTES II" CORRESPONDENT: In fact, I think there's reason to hope he's alive, and here's why I think that. The people who organized his capture and who have been sending these emails are obviously people who are capable, in a certain way, of thinking straight. They're capable of thinking strategically.

They've got Pearl. They've had him for several days now. It would make absolutely no sense from their point of view to kill him. It would only discredit their cause entirely. They have a list of demands. These demands indicate that these are people who believe they have a mission. It would be totally counterproductive, from their point, of view to kill him.

I want to tell you how we were finally released in the Gulf war because I think it's very relevant. Obviously, we only found out about this long after we were released, but it was Mikhail Gorbachev, then leader of the Soviet Union. Tariq Aziz, foreign minister of Iraq at the time, went to Moscow to try to get help from Gorbachev. And Gorbachev said to him -- I have this from two people who were in the room. Gorbachev said, "A lot of what you Iraqis are doing now will be forgotten over time. But if you kill those four CBS journalists, it'll be a black mark against you that nobody will ever forget."

Tariq Aziz came back to Baghdad, and we were released the same day.

KING: Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post" -- by the way, he's co-bylining a series on the front page of "The Post," "10 Days in September: Inside the War Cabinet." Fascinating reading, as only Mr. Woodward can turn things up. Who wrote it along with you, Mr. Balz, right?

BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Dan Balz, one of our top political reporters. He actually did all the work and got all the information.

KING: What did you do, write it?

WOODWARD: Thought about it.


KING: What do you make of Daniel Stern and his plight? Daniel Pearl. I'm sorry. WOODWARD: It's obviously an awful situation. I would tend to agree that you have to be optimistic about this. People are trying to help him, to rescue him. There are techniques to trace emails, even Hotmails. I've seen it done. There are techniques to track people and phone calls, and I think there's a significant effort being made to do that. And the hostage takers ought to think it through because hostage taking, in the end, really achieves nothing except making everyone angry. And there is an opportunity for them, which "The Wall Street Journal" has made very clear -- "OK, release him and he can tell your side of the story, if there is a side to be presented."

KING: Colin, what do you make of the other request, the demand of a $2 million ransom within 36 hours? Where's that coming from?

COLIN SOLOWAY, "NEWSWEEK": Good question, Larry. I think we'd all like to know that. It seems strange. With all these different emails and all these different phone calls, I think probably the authorities in Pakistan and the FBI teams that are working with them there are probably having a pretty difficult time figuring out who's who. It's quite possible that this may be -- this may be a completely separate call. Someone saw that there -- you know, someone was kidnapped and thought, "OK. Well, we'll tell them he's not dead, and we'll just -- we'll just try and get some money."

But again, I couldn't agree more with Bob and Bob that, again, killing a journalist doesn't -- doesn't get you, you know, anything, really, other than -- other than make you the focus of a manhunt and intense press -- calls from the press to go after you and get you. Whereas, again, I think Dan Pearl will have a very, very interesting story to write about his captors and the people he's met in the past few days, assuming that he's -- that he's let go.

KING: On the other hand, Bob Simon, doesn't the group look not to be believed when they tell you, "If you don't do this, we're going to kill him in 24 hours," and then they don't kill him? So you're not going to believe anything else they send.

SIMON: Well, no, but this is -- this is old pat with hostage taking. Deadlines come and go. And "The Wall Street Journal" has indicated that it is perfectly willing to open a dialogue with the hostage takers. And the hostage takers are exerting pressure by putting down deadlines, but I don't think it's their credibility that's at stake. It's a man's life that's at stake.

KING: Unlike the situation in Iraq, Bob Woodward, as happened to Mr. Simon, there's no head of state talking to head of state here to help someone, right?

WOODWARD: I don't know. I mean, I think that people are going to pull out all the stops on this, but one of the significant things is the up and down of this. It's quite possible the hostage takers don't know what they want out of it. And it really is a very bad situation for the hostage because he really has no leverage, other than kind of saying, "Let's kind of think down the road. What's the third or fourth bounce on this? Just let me go." And, you know, I -- your heart and -- you feel a lot of agony for him and his family. And I think the -- I think the United States government -- we're involved in an intelligence war in that region and throughout the world, and the capacity to do things and to take some risks and perhaps get him out I think is there, and it would a be significant coup if that could be done.

KING: Colin, who would have clout with these people? Amnesty International and Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam are both pleading for his release. Who on the horizon could go there or make a public statement that would impact them?

SOLOWAY: Well, you know, it's very difficult to say, Larry, because we don't exactly know who "they" are. I think probably the people who would have the most influence with these -- with these kidnappers are most likely to be the Pakistani authorities themselves because, after all, they are going to be the ones who are going to be -- who are pursuing them now, who are going to be pursuing them in the future, and who are -- and who, you know, are -- are going to be dealing with them and their group as they identify them one way or the other.

So I think what would be very important and what is often very important in these situations where journalists are having trouble in these countries is that the U.S. government make very clear to the Pakistani government that this is not an issue which is just going to be let -- let to lie if Dan Pearl is killed, that this is not going to be swept under the rug, and that the Pakistani government is going to -- is going to -- and Pakistani authorities are going to be responsible, to some degree, for -- for his -- for his death, if he is, in fact, killed, and that -- and I hope that that will encourage them, you know, even more to double -- redouble their efforts to help -- to assist the FBI in -- in finding Mr. Pearl.

KING: Bob Simon, do you think they really believe he's a spy?

SIMON: They very well might. And here's a problem. When a hostage is taken, again, as we were taken, in a country with no experience of democracy -- and Pakistan isn't all that far from that really -- they have no tradition of a free press. Therefore, they know that all their journalists are government hacks, to a greater or larger extent. And therefore, when they catch a journalist, they just assume that he's another stooge of the government, the way their journalists are, and they're totally confused.

They don't know that Daniel Pearl has nothing to do with the United States government, that what he is -- his goals have nothing to do with the goals of the administration. But it's logical for them, from the way they see the world, for them to identify him as a spy.

KING: Bob Woodward, does this give all journalists pause?

WOODWARD: Certainly, over in that region. But one of the elements here is, obviously, as fellow reporters, you have to report on the story, have to shine somewhat of a spotlight on it. But if you remember all the famous hostage taking in Lebanon in the '80s -- and President Reagan became obsessed with this, five or six hostages, and eventually traded arms with Iran to try to get the hostages back.

And all of that attention, all of that announcement from on high, "This is a valuable commodity you have," i.e., one of the American citizens, can encourage more of it and can make the hostage takers think, "Well, we want to make the most of this." And, of course, part of that is, "Let's just string it out, and we'll say he's alive. No, he's dead," and so forth. So there is a point when prudence could enter in here, and there should not be over-coverage of the incident.

KING: And Colin, we have less than a minute. Are you optimistic?

SOLOWAY: Well, I think you've got to be optimistic until you have confirmation -- confirmation, at this point. You know, again, these -- these things do happen. Journalists do get -- do get taken, do get held hostage. Very rarely do they -- do they -- are they actually killed. Often -- because, frankly, our greatest value to kidnappers is the fact that we're -- you know, we're the only ones who can really tell their story.

KING: Yeah. Well said.

SOLOWAY: So I would hope that anyone -- anyone who's watching this would -- would understand that Dan Pearl is a lot more valuable to them alive and free to write about them than he is dead.

KING: Bob Simon, Bob Woodward and Colin Soloway, thank you so much.

We'll take a break, come back and talk about a television phenomena, "Fear Factor." Don't go away.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are working with the Pakistani government to chase down any leads possible. For example, we're trying to follow the trail of the emails that have been sent, with the sole purpose of saving this man, finding him and rescuing him. We've been in touch with "The Wall Street Journal." And obviously, we're deeply concerned and -- as is the Pakistani government. And we will continue to do everything we can to rescue him.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

The remainder of our program tonight will not be as serious. We're going to have some fun, hopefully, and delve into a topic that a lot of people do seriously talk about, and that's the topic of reality television. One of the hit shows is certainly "Fear Factor," seen on NBC. Known to many viewers for his starring role in that show is Joe Rogan, who's the host of this program. And Joe is the host of "Fear Factor." He appeared for four years on the NBC comedy series "News Radio." And this Sunday night, this is counterprogramming, against the Super Bowl, what are you going to do? JOE ROGAN, HOST, "FEAR FACTOR": Well, it's not quite against the Super Bowl. It's only against the half-time show. And it then it starts up again after the game is over. We would never go against the Super Bowl. That would be...

KING: So you're saying...

ROGAN: That would be horrible.

KING: ... you're going to get cleared by the Super Bowl.


KING: Well, what if it's 52-nothing at the half?

ROGAN: I don't know, you know? You'd have to talk to NBC about that. If it's a blow-out, maybe...

KING: Well, what are you going to do on Sunday?

ROGAN: What we're going to do is we have a special edition of "Fear Factor" with all "Playboy" playmates.

KING: Dirty pool!

ROGAN: It is dirty pool, but you know what? That's the name of the game. You know, everybody knows guys sitting at home, drinking beer, watching a football game would much rather watch a bunch of girls in bikinis than half-time show. And that's what we're betting on.

KING: We'll discuss that a little later. How did a truly good syndicated comic actor, I imagine does other things, get a gig like this?

ROGAN: Well, they asked me to do it, and I thought it'd be a lot fun because I thought it'd be crazy. I couldn't believe they were actually going to do a show like this. And I said, "Well, it's obviously going to make a lot of noise, so I want to be involved."

KING: Do you know why they asked you?

ROGAN: Do I know why? They needed a host, you know?

KING: Well, I mean, had you hosted quiz shows, television...

ROGAN: No, I had never hosted anything. I had guest-hosted on "Later" for a week and I'd hosted a week of "The List" on VH-1. That's about it, you know? They just -- I think they figured because I was a stand-up comedian that I was pretty quick on my feet, I could figure it out quick enough.

KING: Stand-up comedy is your bag?

ROGAN: Yeah. That's what -- everything else...

KING: Acting is secondary?

ROGAN: ... I just do for money. Really.

KING: So "News Radio" was...

ROGAN: "News Radio" was -- you know, it was comedic acting. It was a lot of fun, but...

KING: Yeah, sure.

KING: ... still, stand-up comedy's what I love to do best.

KING: You still do stand-up?

ROGAN: Absolutely. Yeah.

KING: Although this show has given you a hit in another area you didn't expect, right?

ROGAN: Well, it actually -- yeah, and it brings more people to see me when I do stand-up, too, which -- a little surprised.

KING: OK, let's just show a quick clip...

ROGAN: Sure.

KING: ... from one of the "Fear Factor"s and then we'll get into the concept of this show. I don't know what we're going to see, but let's watch it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I hit the boxes, it did hurt a little because, like, you're landing on hard cardboard boxes. I had so much adrenaline inside of me, I don't even think I felt it. I just hit it, and that was it.


KING: All right, Joe, for those who may not have seen this, how does this show work?

ROGAN: The show works -- we -- we bring in six contestants, and we have three extreme stunts. And they -- we eliminate people with each stunt. And the final stunt will have one person left standing and they'll win $50,000.

KING: How many stunts will they have gone through to win?

ROGAN: Three. To win it, you have to go through all three.

KING: What if all -- it's a timed -- it's a time factor... ROGAN: It's -- the final stunt is either a time...

KING: I mean, what if all do our stunts?

ROGAN: Yeah.

KING: What if all three contestants do all...

ROGAN: Well, the final one is a timed stunt or distance stunt or accumulation stunt, like, you have to, you know, gather up as many things in a certain amount of time. It's usually that. We have always a definitive winner.

KING: And where do you find people who want to do this?

ROGAN: That's the easiest part. I mean, there's always...

KING: Really?

ROGAN: ... people who want to be on television. Well, the way I -- the way I -- when I talk about reality TV with people, I say the reason why these things are so popular with contestants is because we have, like, a new animal in society, the celebrity contestant. I mean, that's a new thing. I mean, not since, like, quiz show in the '50s have you had people who become famous from being on a game show. And that's the new thing. Like, Richard Hatch was, like, the first of the breed. He comes along, he's a famous guy -- can't sing, can't dance, not really an actor, not a good-looking guy. But he's famous.

KING: He's famous for being on television.

ROGAN: Exactly. Celebrity contestants. So people with no talent, sitting at home, and they go, "Well, I can definitely do that." And they -- "I can be myself," and they get on a -- on a show, and they become famous.

KING: Do you think that's more than the $50,000?

ROGAN: I think that's the initial -- that's the initial urge for most people to get into reality television. I think -- "Fear Factor" is little different from most shows because it's truly fun to do. Like, people who sit at home watching it...

KING: That looks fun to you, jumping out of...

ROGAN: Yeah! I would like to do all the stunts. But you know...

KING: You would have done that?

ROGAN: Oh, definitely, I would have done that one because the only ones I wouldn't do are the gross ones. Some of the gross ones -- I'm very queasy.

KING: We'll get to that in a while. Who came up with this idea?

ROGAN: It was actually a show in Holland before it was here. It was called "Now or Neverland." And that...

KING: "Now or Neverland"?

ROGAN: Yeah, bad name, but good show. And so NBC bought it and put together a big-budget version of it, and now it's called "Fear Factor."

KING: Did it surprise that you NBC, rather than, say, a cable network -- no slams on -- on the...

ROGAN: No, absolutely.


ROGAN: It definitely surprised me when I -- when I first was contacted about it from my agent, I immediately thought it was a Fox show. When he told me it was NBC, I was, like, "Are you sure?" Like, I had them doublecheck, and I was, like, "Well, yeah. I'll meet with them. This is crazy. This is a real show? Like, does it" -- because they had told me they were going to put a padded suit on a guy and he was going run, they were going to sic an attack dog on him. And I'm, like, "Really? On NBC, the `Frasier' network? Really? All right. OK. They're really going to do it." You know, and -- you know, it -- it is pretty ridiculous.

KING: Fifty thousand is given away every week, then, right?.

ROGAN: Every week.

KING: There is a winner.

ROGAN: Unless someone doesn't win. I mean, we -- we've also...

KING: How could you not win if it's timed, the last thing in...

ROGAN: Well, if -- the final stunt -- if everybody chickens out on the final stunt, there'll be no winner. It's always possible...

KING: Have you had that?

ROGAN: We have not had that yet, but it is possible.

KING: Have you had chicken-outs?

ROGAN: We have had a whole bunch of chicken-outs, yeah. We've had a lot of chicken-outs on the gross-out stunts. We've had a couple chicken-outs on the final stunt because it's a little too scary. We actually had one last week that aired. A girl got on. There was -- they had to walk along the ledge of this building, and it was a timed event. They had to go over some obstacles. And she just freaked out. It was too high for her. She just...

KING: We're going to have celebrities on tonight, who -- Alan Thicke, Steven Baldwin. We're going to have...

ROGAN: Joanie Laurer. KING: ...Joan Laurer. And you're going to -- on March 11th, you do another celebrity "Fear Factor."

ROGAN: Yes. That's when we'll have another one. Yeah. That's when...

KING: Why do celebrities do this? We'll ask Thicke and them about...

ROGAN: The only celebrities that do it are celebrities that don't take themselves very seriously, and those are the most fun to deal with anyway. You know, celebrities are just, like, into have fun and laugh about it.

KING: Brad Pitt will not do this.

ROGAN: I don't know. Maybe he would. Maybe -- I don't think he takes himself very seriously. I've seen him interviewed.

KING: Maybe he would do it.

ROGAN: Maybe he would. Yeah, it's -- you know what the real hard part is?

KING: Robert DeNiro would not do it.

ROGAN: Probably not. But who knows? The real hard part is getting them to clear three full days because they have to have three full days to do it. Each stunt takes a day. And you know, most celebrities are very busy and...


KING: All the stunts are done in L.A.?

ROGAN: In and around the L.A. area.

KING: Our guest is Joe Rogan, the host of "Fear Factor." This Sunday night, when it's half-time at the Super Bowl, if you turn over from Fox to NBC, you're going to see playmates doing "Fear Factor." And one of them's going to be with us tonight.

And we'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't do it, dude. That was so...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, dude, I can't do it.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got 10 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I can't do it, man. That is so -- it tastes so much worse than it looks.











KING: That nutsy person was Joanie Laurer, the actress formerly known as Chyna with the World Wrestling Federation. She's a model and an author. And there she is, coming to us from Chicago. She was a "Fear Factor" contestant.

Was that a good experience for you, Joanie?

LAURER: Hi. Perhaps you didn't recognize me with the scorpion not on my face.

KING: No, I didn't.


KING: What was that all about? What was your fear?

LAURER: The bugs was by far the worst for me, and I think it's because it's the one thing that you don't have any control over. I mean, jumping off the buildings or riding on buses or heights, even though it gave me an incredible adrenaline rush and -- there's no way I would quit, even if I didn't make -- you know, complete the event.

But the bugs or scorpions or something that could harm you or sting you, you don't have any control over them. And that's what made me really nervous. And I think that if I would had three days of -- if they would have told me on the third day that I would have had to do the bug thing again, I don't know if I could have done it.

KING: Are you there, Joe, for all of the "Factor"s?

ROGAN: Yeah, I'm there for all the stunts. Always.

KING: All of them?

ROGAN: Yeah, all of them.

KING: So you watched her do this thing with the bugs?

ROGAN: I poured everything on her head. Yeah, I was there.

KING: Would you have done that?

ROGAN: That? Yeah, I would have done that. That's not that big a deal to me.

LAURER: I'm calling you out right now, Joe.


LAURER: Let's go, Bucko!

ROGAN: I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but I would have done it. I mean, I'm not saying that I look forward to it.

KING: Joanie, why did you do the show?

LAURER: You know, I thought about this, and I think the answer is, is that, you know, it's in -- I know it's in my nature to put up or shut up, the constant need to have to prove yourself, and being in the public eye. And it was brought to my attention, and I couldn't say no. And then especially once you get there, if you have a competitive nature, there was no way I would have backed out of anything, no matter what they had me do. I think it's just my nature.

LAURER: She's crazy!

KING: Are you saying when you've seen the show and you've learned of all the other stunts, there's not one you would have turned down?

LAURER: I had actually never watched the show before I went in, but I went in knowing they could have me do anything crazy. But yes, anything that they would have given me or thrown at me, no matter whether it would have caused me bodily harm or embarrassment or a letdown of my ego, I would have attempted.

KING: Joe, and the same question for you. Why does this show -- why does the public like this show, Joe?

ROGAN: It's a freak show. That's why.

KING: It's a freak show?

ROGAN: It's a well produced freak show, yeah.

KING: It's the sideshow at Ringling Brothers?

ROGAN: It's a side show, and it's also a competition show. It's both. It's a -- it's a -- it's a freak show, in that we get people to do disgusting things.

KING: I mean, you're not giving away a million dollars.

ROGAN: No. No.

KING: So they're not watching for that...

ROGAN: No one's going to get rich. They're going to have fun, but they're nog going to get rich. But it's also the competition aspect of it. I think people get excited about it. They watch the events and they think, "Could I do that? I think I could do that. He did it in 1:30. I could have done it faster," you know? And people get excited. Any kind of competition show where you have regular people, you know, regular people off the streets, and put them on, they're going to get -- you know, people at home are going to get excited about it.

KING: Why do you think people like it, Joanie?

LAURER: I think it's an extreme adrenaline rush. I mean, for me, that was my three days of doing drugs.


LAURER: It was the extreme rush and the excitement and the craziness of it. And I wouldn't want to do it again, but I'm glad I did it.

KING: How do you compare it with your days in wrestling?

LAURER: Well, I think the -- well, I had control over what I did in wrestling, even though I went to physical extremes. And there was the excitement of the rush of a crowd and, you know, entertaining people. But doing "Fear Factor" was -- I actually proved to myself, you know, whether I had the guts to do this crazy stuff or not. And I did.

KING: Now, we're not talking about a bimbo here. You majored in foreign languages at the University of Tampa.

LAURER: I did. I was...

KING: But you've also...

LAURER: ... a Spanish literature major, yes.

KING: That's right. You've also posed nude for a "Playboy" video. Why?

LAURER: Because I wanted to do the documentary of exactly why I did this "Playboy" shoot what -- the hours of set preparation and physical preparation, what actually happened behind the scenes of -- and I think people are fascinated by not only nudity but my life, as well, and the wrestling world and out, a transition. There were interviews from very intimate people in my life, such as Joe Gold (ph), my manager, friends, Hugh Heffner. And I think it's kind of an odd phenomena that the two things I've really made my mark in are wrestling and "Playboy," and I wanted to show that on a documentary.

KING: What is a pet fear you do have? Do you have an everyday fear? Do you have -- what a fear, a commonplace fear? What are you afraid of?

LAURER: I have a fear -- I was the kind of person, like, in college, for example, if they would give me a term paper to do that was due in three weeks, I'd have it done the same night. I'm in a real hurry to go nowhere most of the time. I have the same basic fears that most others have -- growing old and maybe not finding that perfect soulmate, having a family. There are things that are completely opposite of what I'm -- where I'm going in my life.

KING: But a physical fear.

LAURER: A physical fear? The heights really bothered, me but I think that the...

KING: But you jumped off a height.

ROGAN: She actually fell.

KING: Oh, she fell of a height.

ROGAN: Yeah.

LAURER: I know. It wasn't -- and it wasn't the falling, which is the odd part. It was actually being up there, having nothing to brace, nothing to hold onto...

KING: I got to get a break and we'll come right back. Joanie, you stay with us. And when we come back, we'll be joined by Alan Thicke and Steven Baldwin. And we're also going to not let Joe get away without telling us his biggest fear, as well. Joe Rogan's the host, and he'll be with us all the way tonight.

Don't go away.


KING: We'll be joined by Alan Thicke and Stephen Baldwin. And we're not going to let Joe get away without telling us his biggest fear as well. Joe Rogan is the host and he'll be with us all the way tonight. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, set, go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in there, kid!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God! I can't even watch! Oh, God!



KING: If you find this difficult to watch, I'm in your corner. However, we are brave viewers. Joe Rogan is with us. He's the host of "Fear Factor". In Chicago is Joanie Laurer. You remember her as Chyna, the World Wrestling Federation.

And now joining us here in Los Angeles, an old friend, the actor and talk show host and "Fear Factor" contestant, the wonderful Alan Thicke. And in New York, that fine actor and "Fear Factor" contestant as well, one of the famous Baldwin brothers -- look at him -- Stephen Baldwin.

All right. Alan, why did you do this?

ALAN THICKE, "FEAR FACTOR" CONTESTANT: Well, the celebrities in the celebrity edition make money for their charity. So I got to do that, the National Winter Games for Children with Problems in Colorado, Shining Star Foundation. We got to raise some money.

KING: And what were you asked to do?

THICKE: I was asked to...

KING: Do the celebrities do three things as well?


KING: What were you asked to do?

THICKE: We started on the outside of a building, 37 stories up, playing kind of monkey bars, moving from hand to hand, walking around the corner of that building with no ledge, nothing for the feet, by the way.

KING: Wait a minute. You could die from this.

THICKE: You could except you're in a harness and NBC has lawyers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lawyers will keep you alive.

THICKE: They didn't want us to die. I felt protected. And, but, yes, there's nothing for the feet up there.

KING: Did you accept all three fears?

THICKE: Well, yes. You sign up for that when you go into it.

KING: You had to do it?

THICKE: When you go into it, yes. You're exposed to whatever Joe throws at you.

ROGAN: He's a trooper.

KING: Where were you, at the bottom of the building watching?

ROGAN: I was at the bottom. I'm not stupid.

KING: Stephen Baldwin, why did you do this?

STEPHEN BALDWIN, "FEAR FACTOR" CONTESTANT: Well, it sure looked like a whole lot of fun.

KING: You're kidding?

BALDWIN: No, sir.

KING: And you helped a charity at the same time?

BALDWIN: Yes. The Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, my mom's breast cancer fund.

KING: What were you asked to do?

BALDWIN: I had to do all of it. I had to do the 37th story of the building along there with Alan and everybody else. Then we had to deal with the second stunt, which was quite disgusting and gross, which I think is one of the big attractions for "Fear Factor". And then the third stunt, which I'm not sure if I can mention, involved somewhat of a Houdini type of a stunt.

KING: A magical stunt?


We're seeing it now. What was this?

ROGAN: It's a shark tank, a tank that they use, you know, to go under water with sharks. And we sent them under and there's three keys. And when the red light goes on, they have to find the proper key to unlock themselves and get out and they have to swim to a safety buoy. The person who does it the fastest got $50,000 for their charity.

BALDWIN: I don't know if you can see this, Larry, up here on my head. But tell them about this deal up here, Joe.

KING: What happened?

ROGAN: He was in a rush to get out of the cage and as he was in a rush to get of the cage, he banged his head on the top of it and got a big crease on the top.

KING: Did you do that one too, Alan? Were you on with Stephen? THICKE: I can't say because we're not allowed to reveal what happened at the end and this was right down to the end.

KING: When is this going to be shown?

ROGAN: It will be shown March 11.

KING: This is the March 11 -- we're previewing the March 11 celebrity show now.

ROGAN: Yes. Yes.

KING: So we can't tell who won.

THICKE: We can't -- yes.

KING: Is Joanie on that show, too?

ROGAN: No, Joanie was on the first celebrity show we ever did.

KING: Did you win your show, Joanie?

LAURER: No, I did not. Coolio won my show.

KING: Julio?

LAURER: Coolio. But I psyched him out good, Larry.


KING: You say Coolio. I think Julio Iglesias. That shows age difference. And I know that Julio Iglesias ain't going up on top of a building and he ain't going to have scorpions in his face.

LAURER: Julio Iglesias, I'd let him win.

KING: All right. Alan, why did you -- why would you go into a tank like this?

THICKE: Well, you know, as I said, you do sign up for the whole thing. And I think it was probably best said by my four-year-old once I described to him everything that had gone on. He said, you know, Dad, I really liked you better as an actor.


KING: Who's the other celebrity on your show?

THICKE: We had a handful of them. Kelly Packard was on. Ali Landry...

KING: Oh, you have a lot.


KING: It's not three contestants. ROGAN: There's six.

THICKE: Kevin Richardson from Backstreet Boys. And that first stunt, as you saw, that was a lot of upper-body strength. And not that we don't have a lot of lower body strength, Stephen and I -- let's spread that rumor -- but it was really -- it was an upper-body strength kind of thing I think more than it was fear. It was a question of endurance.

KING: Stephen, would do you this show again?

BALDWIN: Absolutely. I'd do it as many times as they allowed me to. And, you know, another thing that is interesting is the show is a bit of a circus freak thing. Alan Thicke is a three-legged man. But anyway...


KING: Stephen, how do you explain to yourself why you enjoy it?

BALDWIN: For me, I think psychologically, what's fascinating is you're put in these situations that regardless of who you are or how cool you try to appear to be in the public eye, the thing that's fascinating about "Fear Factor" and Joe Rogan as its host is they put you in situations where you really are frightened and very human in certain situations. And, you know, it's kind of neat to see these celebrities that, you know, to the public are these really cool customers really kind of freaking out sometimes. That for me was the biggest challenge. Could I get in some situation where I was going to lose control and still keep my cool?

THICKE: You know, Larry, even the Baldwin brothers have stunt doubles now. And you remember in the old days, guys used to -- they're very macho. You'd do your own stunts. And now, legally, they won't let you do that anymore. So this is a chance for some of us to try it.

KING: Would Alec or William or both go on "Fear Factor"?

BALDWIN: I would absolutely encourage them to do so.

KING: Do you think they would?

BALDWIN: I would absolutely encourage them to do so. I think Billy would do it, but, you know, Alec is rather busy. You know, I would be surprised if Alec would do it.

KING: Did you encourage friends to do it, Alan?

THICKE: Yes. I think it was a great adventure and I enjoyed it. I had fun there and the charity element was an interesting payoff.

KING: Joan, you think Hulk Hogan would like it?

LAURIE: I think that would be the best comedy show ever to have some of the other wrestlers doing that. And I knew every one of them was watching me as well, so I had a lot to prove to those guys because that was the real thing, not the fake thing.

ROGAN: We actually did a wrestling version of "Fear Factor". We did a WWF version. We had a bunch of WWF stars, the Hardy Boys and Test and a bunch of other ones on. That's upcoming.

KING: Your show has been a big success, right?

ROGAN: It's doing well. I knew when we first came up with it -- when they first brought it to me, I thought it was either going to be a huge success or become canceled immediately.

KING: Thank you all very much for being good sports and for helping charities. Alan Thicke and Joanie Laurer and, of course, Stephen Baldwin. Joe will remain with us.

And when we come back, two everyday people who were contestants. We'll find out why they did it. As we go to break, here's Donny Osmond on "Fear Factor".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's getting bit, he said.

ROGAN: You have a minute left.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to quit?

OSMOND: No, I'm not quitting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it hurt when they bite you?

OSMOND: They're biting me.


OSMOND: Yeah, it's hurting. Oh, it hurts. Ooh!




ROGAN: This is a fear of a different kind, the fear of public nudity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing that went through my mind was the size of my package.


KING: The crazy, wacky "Fear Factor" is seen on NBC. Now, this Sunday they're going to do something really weird. When the Super Bowl half time starts -- there's no starting time for "Fear Factor." When you see the gun go off, the end of the half, turn to NBC, and there's the special edition of "Fear Factor" with "Playboy" playmates.

The celebrity edition will air, again, on March 11, and the Wrestling Federation edition will air on February 25.

Joining us now along with Joe Rogan, the host of "Fear Factor," is Kristen Vitti, a "Fear Factor" contestant -- I think that's Leslie. You're Leslie. That's Leslie. This is Kristen. Kristen Vitti, the "Fear Factor" contestant and Leslie Graham, a "Fear Factor" contestant.

We'll start with Leslie. Why did you go on this show?

LESLIE GRAHAM, "FEAR FACTOR" CONTESTANT: I went on this show just -- that would be the craziest thing I've ever done. Just to have fun. You can't take yourself too seriously.

KING: What do you for a living?

GRAHAM: Bartender, interior designer and a student.

KING: How did you find out about this?

GRAHAM: I went to an open call they had. Waited in line six hours.

KING: Do you get paid to go on the show?


KING: Nothing.

GRAHAM: No, nothing. Loser doesn't even get a hat. Nothing.

KING: Did you make any money on the show?

GRAHAM: I can't -- I can't say, because the show airs March 18.

KING: Oh, so you're on the March 18th? These are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tonight.


KING: What did you have to do, Leslie? I know you did three things, right?


KING: The one we're going to show is you ate animal parts?

GRAHAM: Yes, I had to eat pig uterus.

KING: You ate what?

GRAHAM: I had to eat pig uterus.

ROGAN: Not just one. KING: Now, wait a minute...

GRAHAM: I had to eat five.

KING: Five?


KING: Joe, who came up with this?

ROGAN: Not me. We have a whole team of freaks that comes up with all these disgusting stunts.

KING: OK, let's watch -- let's watch Leslie Graham and the pig uterus.

ROGAN: This is so rough.


ROGAN: All you have to do is get through these five uterus right now, and you will win $25,000 here and now. Want to do this?

GRAHAM: Oh yeah.

ROGAN: All right. Hold on to it and when I say go, you have five minutes. Ready, set, go.

ROGAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) $25,000, $5,000 a uterus.


ROGAN: Don't talk, just go. If you get to it, $25,000 is yours. Come one! Don't give me (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Just eat!

GRAHAM: Baby, this is for you!


ROGAN: She did it for her boyfriend.

KING: You give out side money?

ROGAN: No, this is -- I would definitely. If it was up to me, I would give a little bit for each stunt, more incentive. The way we had it, if everyone fails a stunt and one person is left, that person can win $25,000, and then everyone will come back to the final. Since they can't compete against themselves, if we lose everyone but one person.

KING: Who is the baby you were so sorry for?

GRAHAM: Who's what?

KING: You said I'm so sorry.

ROGAN: No, she said she was doing it for her boyfriend.

KING: Oh. Who were you doing it for?

GRAHAM: My boyfriend.

KING: Did he watch this? He was there?

GRAHAM: No, no, no, he hasn't seen it yet.

KING: But he knows what you had to do?

GRAHAM: No, not yet.

KING: What did it taste like?

GRAHAM: It was the most vile, disgusting thing I had ever eaten in my life. And I'm pretty courageous, adventurous. I mean, I'm out there.

KING: You eat all kinds of foods?

GRAHAM: Oh, yeah. I'll get out there and do it. But it was absolutely -- the taste was undeniably disgusting.

KING: Kristen, why did do you this show?

KRISTEN VITTI, "FEAR FACTOR" CONTESTANT: For me, it wasn't something that I really pre-planned. It was -- somebody sent me an e- mail about auditions being held in New York, and I was living in New York at the time. So...

KING: When you auditioned, they have you do crazy things, or they just look at you and talk to you?

VITTI: Yeah, they pretty much just ask you a few questions, and then they put me on camera. They didn't have me do anything crazy.

KING: See how you look?

VITTI: Yeah.

KING: So you want good looking people, is that it, Joe?

ROGAN: We have a couple of ugly people on the show. But yeah, we prefer good looking people.

KING: I would be turned down. If I just came in off the street, I'm turned down.

ROGAN: Please, we'll put you on the show.

KING: Come on, I'm turned down!

ROGAN: You ever rode a bull?

KING: OK. You have older people on the show? ROGAN: Alan Thicke's probably the oldest. Oops.

KING: What did you ask -- what did you -- among the things you had to do was what?

VITTI: I had to ride a bull.

KING: Have you ever ridden a bull?

VITTI: No, that was the first time.

ROGAN: One time was enough for Kristen.

VITTI: Yeah, that was fine.

KING: Let's have a clip of Kristen riding a bull.


ROGAN: Kristen, you made it through. Congratulations. Did it knock the wind out of you?

VITTI: I think that's what happened, yeah.

ROGAN: What was going through your mind when you were flying through the air?

VITTI: It was so fast. I don't know, am I going to die, am I going to be paralyzed? I panicked. I thought, I've got to be dead. The only thing I wanted to know was, like, did I win?


KING: Now, Kristen, you could have gotten hurt.

VITTI: I did get hurt.

KING: What happened?

VITTI: Well, I mean, I didn't get severely hurt...

KING: Do they sign...

ROGAN: Oh, sure, a huge waiver.

KING: Show is not responsible.

VITTI: Yeah.

ROGAN: Massive waiver.

KING: So if Kristen gets tossed out of the ring, broken neck, bang, you pay nothing?

ROGAN: Well, there's a lot of precautions set in place. First of all, the ground that we use is not regular ground that they use for bull fighting. They have like really, really thick sand. So it's much softer. Then, they wear a chest protector and they wear a helmet and neck brace. So there's a lot of precautions in place.

KING: What did it feel like?

VITTI: It felt great.

KING: It did feel great?

VITTI: No, no. I mean, really, like, it happened so fast I -- when I -- I think I was knocked unconscious, because when I came to...

ROGAN: No, no.

VITTI: Well, for at least for like a second.

ROGAN: You were talking the entire time.

VITTI: When I came -- I mean...

ROGAN: It's going to get worse. I lost a leg.


KING: What do you do for a living, Kristen?

VITTI: I go to the Fashion Institute of Design.

KING: You're a student?


KING: Do you have a boyfriend, too?



Leslie, do you too get -- Joe, do you get involved with your contestants? I don't mean taking them out or anything. Do you get -- I mean, do you root for them?

ROGAN: Do I root? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I root for all of them. I really root for all of them. You know, I try to be as objective as possible and try to push -- I try to pit them against each other, too, though, I have to be honest with that. I try to get them to talk a lot of crap.

KING: Did you ride a bull?

GRAHAM: No, I didn't ride a bull, no. When you're actually performing the stunt, he's great. He's -- I think with his martial arts background, he really pushes you and really takes you over the edge.

KING: You have a marshal arts background? ROGAN: That's what I used to do for a living. I used to teach taekwon-do and I taught at Boston University, and I used to fight in tournaments and kick box and stuff.

KING: What's your biggest fear, Joe?

ROGAN: Paralysis.

KING: So you wouldn't do anything that would risk?

ROGAN: Well, I just think it would just suck to just be sitting there, just going, that's it. I like to move around.

KING: What's your biggest fear?

GRAHAM: You know what, I don't even know. I don't even have one really.

ROGAN: Uterus?

VITTI: Probably sharks. I was afraid they were going to put sharks.

KING: That's a good thing to fear. That's good.


KING: We got to take a break. But when we come back, we'll come back with our remaining moments. Right away, the Bee Gees are the guests tomorrow night. When we come back with our remaining moments, we'll ask our two ladies, Kristen and Leslie, to remain, and we'll be joined by Angel Boris, the "Playboy" playmate who also will be seen on Sunday night on the "Fear Factor" special. And we'll get to her fear right after this.


ROGAN: Hundreds and hundreds of flies surrounding your head.

Go, you got to go!

This stunt is designed to replicate the terrifying feeling of being trapped under ice.

She missed the hole. She can't find it.

This is it, this is real. You get in there and you win this right now. You ready?


ROGAN: Don't pay attention to them, Stacy.





KING: That tightrope scene will be seen this Sunday night when the super bowl is at halftime on NBC when Playboy playmates appear on the "Fear Factor." One of them is with us, Angel Boris, tonight. She was miss July, 1996. She's an actress in Hollywood. Why did do you this?

BORIS: Wow. Well, you know, I'm pretty adventurous and I wanted a challenge. And I also wanted to prove that playmates are not bimbos.

KING: You proved. Did you walk across the building, too?

BORIS: Yes, I did.

KING: What was another one you had you to do?

BORIS: We had to eat strawberries with flies buzzing around our head?

KING: You like your job, don't you?

ROGAN: It's quite amusing.

KING: Did you have fun?

BORIS I did. I had a blast.

KING: Wasn't gross?

BORIS: It was a little gross.

KING: Scary?

BORIS: Definitely. The last stunt we did, the water stunt, was really scary.

KING: You look like you're going to faint now.


KING: Would you do it again, Kristen?

KRISTEN: It depends on how much they paid me.


KING: Leslie, would you do it again?

GRAHAM: Would do it in a heart beat.

KING: In a heart beat?

GRAHAM: In a heart beat.

KING: Angel?

BORIS: I wanted to do it again.

KING: They told me, before I started, I had no idea that they would offer a fear to me. I could accept it or reject it. If I reject it, maybe one of the contestants will do it. Maybe they will give them something. What is this?

ROGAN: This is one of the stunts that we've done. This is the blender of fear.

KING: The blender of fear. What do we have here? You're going to put all of this into a blender.

ROGAN: Yes. We have pig rectum.

KING: Pass!

ROGAN: That's all you need to know.

KING: What else? Go ahead.

ROGAN: Rooster jewels, which are exactly what you think they are. Rooster -- that's right. This is bile.

KING: What is that stuff?

ROGAN: That is pig brains and that is beef spleen. We are all going to mix it all up right here. This is how we do it Larry.

A little pig brains. That's the main ingredient. That adds consistency. Makes it nice. A little beef spleen.

I'm just going to use a few of those. Just pick that up, just pick that up. Don't worry about it. You've touched one of those before.

KING: Blend. Let's see what it looks like.

ROGAN: What it looks like -- what about the bile? You don't want to forget this. It's an important ingredient.

KING: I think my wife would do this.

ROGAN: Really?

KING: I think she'd be tougher, because she likes adventuresome things. She used to do the Guinness Book of World Records. She would do this.

ROGAN: Can you call her up?

KING: No. Oh, my god.

ROGAN: Got to make sure it's really ground up. Otherwise it's gross.

BORIS: Oh, it smells!


KING: Looks like a malted.

ROGAN: Exactly. Protein. It's protein.

KING: Okay, I pass. I can't. I can't.

ROGAN: Are you sure?

KING: I won't eat broccoli. I won't eat eggs.

GRAHAM: Not even a sip?

KING: No, no, no, I would fall over. Who would try? Would you try it?

ROGAN: It doesn't smell that bad, I'm telling you.

KING: I tell you what, Joe.

ROGAN: It's protein.

KING: Why don't you drink it?

ROGAN: I don't think it would be fair if I drank it because I'm the host, and I'm a little desensitized.

KING: What would you give Leslie to drink it?

ROGAN: We'll give you $500.

GRAHAM: I have to drink the whole thing?


GRAHAM: I'll take a sip.

KING: Take two sips.

ROGAN: Take a good solid sip.

GRAHAM: I'll take a good old swig, sure. Right now?

ROGAN: Yes. $500. You ready? If you're going to launch, don't launch on me, OK?

GRAHAM: OK. Ready? You ready? All right. Can I have some water for after?

ROGAN: I'll get you some water.

GRAHAM: Oh. Whoo!

KING: Want to try it, Kristen?

KRISTEN: I'll go if they go.

GRAHAM: Come on, I just went.

KING: You needed 500?

ROGAN: Angel, would you like to try it? Do you want to try it?


ROGAN: Really? Wow.

KING: You're doing it for the playmates. Playmate guts.

BORIS: I don't even eat meat. This is horrible.

KING: You don't eat meat?

BORIS: No. Give me that water, real handy. I want it right away.

GRAHAM: Just one big swig. Go.

ROGAN: Look at her shake.

GRAHAM: I know, isn't that disgusting? Doesn't it taste like liver.

KING: You want to complete it, Kristen?

ROGAN: No, it's not happening.

KRISTEN: That is so nasty.

KING: The one thing -- I'm not coping out. I can't stand food I can't stand. For example, I know there's certain kinds of foods, for example, oysters are popular.

ROGAN: I love oysters.

KING: They're slimy and...

ROGAN: Look at you.

KING: I could not. Honest...

ROGAN: The bile gives a nice aftertaste.

KING: Does the bile add consistency? I've always wanted to say this. You've made $500! You want to do a quick swig? We are out of time. We thank Joe Rogan, we thank Angel Boris, Kristen Vitti, Leslie Graham. Don't forget, halftime of the Super Bowl. If you turn over, you'll see Angel and other playmates go at it.

Tomorrow night, the Bee Bees. "NEWSNIGHT" is next. For all of us here at LARRY KING LIVE, good night.




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