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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Sally Jessy Raphael

Aired March 13, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, what happens when Sally Jessy Raphael gets told it is time to shut up? She sounds off about it exclusively to us. Why is the longest running talk show now on syndicated TV being canceled? Sally's next. We'll take your calls on LARRY KING LIVE.

Sally and I go back a long way together. We've worked on radio together at WIOD in Miami. I led right into her show when she came up to work with us coming from Puerto Rico where she broke in. She broke in in 1956. She's celebrated 46 years on the air. Her TV show has been given the ax. It is being pulled on April 25, one month and one week short of the 20-year mark. She is the longest running syndicated talk show now on TV, the third longest running in television history. What happened?

SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL, TALK SHOW HOST: I don't -- first of all, I was shocked because I didn't know. I was told we were going -- they had 70 percent of the country signed for the next year, and nobody told me. So I went into what I thought was a business meeting.

KING: With?

RAPHAEL: With the people from Studios USA. And they said, well, we think we're going to -- we know we're going to cancel the show. So when it comes, it just like hits you in the solarplexus and you don't kind of remember...

KING: How did they -- were they kind?

RAPHAEL: Yes, they are kind people. Yes. Well, you know, how kind can you be? Everybody's kind of joking around. They're suits. And they don't know what that means.

KING: So you're sitting at this conference table expecting what?

RAPHAEL: Expecting people to say, oh, the ratings have gone down or can we -- we have a little lawsuit problem with something or let's talk about that. And then they said, well, we're not going to continue. But usually, they call your agent or they call your lawyer. Nobody ever tells you. It's very rare. So that happened, and they're not unkind people.

KING: What did you say?

RAPHAEL: I couldn't say anything, Larry. I just...

KING: Really?

RAPHAEL: I just couldn't say anything. I was just like, OK. You're above your head. You're looking down. And you see yourself and it's like you're in kind of a movie. And I think, you know, I often tell people I've been fired 18 times. OK, this is the 19th. But this was almost a 20-year run. So, I was off guard. A couple of years ago, I would have just said, oh, OK, like that.

KING: You have to do how many more weeks?

RAPHAEL: It's a long funeral, man. I got to do the rest of this month and then through to April. I hate...

KING: Why didn't they just say leave....

(CROSSTALK)

Why have you do this?

RAPHAEL: Because they have a commitment. They're a business. And I understand why they do that. I mean, I understand why they let me go, too. Here's really probably why they let me go. The company has three talk shows. It has Maury Povich and it has Jerry Springer and it has me. And it was owned by Multimedia for a very long time and then Gannett for a minute and a half and then it was bought by Universal. And from the time it was bought by Universal...

KING: Is this -- Universal has it now?

RAPHAEL: It's back. Well, you want to know something?

KING: Who has it?

RAPHAEL: As of this moment, I haven't the foggiest because Barry Diller made the deal with Vivendi/Universal. So it's in the middle of being sold. The show is in the middle of being sold.

KING: So was it Diller who let you go?

RAPHAEL: Yes. But they have these two shows that do a carnival- type show. Maury...

KING: You include Maury and Jerry as carnivals?

RAPHAEL: Yes. They're good. They're very, very good. That is the state of the art of that form of show. Nobody does it better. And a lot of people like to watch it. More people, their ratings are higher than mine. More people would like to watch that in daytime television than would like to watch me.

KING: Define for us -- definitions for those of us who don't get to watch much daytime. Difference between carnival and Sally Jessy. What do you mean by carnival? RAPHAEL: Well, that is what I was getting to. That's the point, in that when Universal bought it, they said, you know, can you -- we have three children, can you be a little more like your brothers.

KING: Oh, they told you this earlier...

RAPHAEL: They did that.

KING: They wanted you to do what?

RAPHAEL: They wanted me to do that type of show, which is -- it's a coarser type of show. You know? I don't want to say anything disparaging.

KING: He's sleeping of his sister, what do you think of that?

RAPHAEL: Yes, more than what I do or did. And for the whole time that Universal and then Diller owned it, they kept trying to make me do that kind of show. They told the producers to produce that kind of show. It's very hard if you come in and that's what they produce. I told everyone in sight, this is what you bought and it isn't me. And I envy the people that can do that, but I can't do it. I just can't.

And the November book...

KING: So this couldn't of shocked you?

RAPHAEL: No. It didn't shock me. I thought we were near the end, but...

KING: Of course, they renewed on 70 percent, you thought you would last another year.

RAPHAEL: Yes -- oh no, because they told me we were going to last another year, because my lawyer told me we were going to last another year.

KING: So you were misled.

RAPHAEL: Yes. But what happened was the November book -- they asked me to do that kind of television.

KING: Let me explain. The November book is a rating book for the month of November.

RAPHAEL: And I did it.

KING: You did do that.

RAPHAEL: I did it.

KING: You tried that time?

RAPHAEL: No. I'd been trying it for every time they asked me to for a long time. And I'm in it -- look, I needed the salary check. I'm an employee. They tell you to do this kind of show. You do this kind of show. If they asked you to do the ballet show, maybe...

KING: Well, I couldn't. I'd crack up.

(CROSSTALK)

So what kind of show did you do you didn't want to do?

RAPHAEL: That kind of a carnival type of show.

KING: Give me an example of a show you did you were uncomfortable?

RAPHAEL: Well, it's the sameness of the DNA tests, the sameness of the lie detector, the sameness of big-breasted women, the sameness...

KING: Appealing to base elements?

RAPHAEL: I won't say that because this is...

KING: You called it a carnival, kind of a side show.

RAPHAEL: No, I liked the carnival. Don't you ever go to a carnival?

KING: Sure.

RAPHAEL: It is all right to go to a carnival. It's not wrong. People like it.

KING: You just couldn't do it.

RAPHAEL: I couldn't do it. So I did it in November. And then I finally said, I can't do this anymore. And they agreed. OK, do what you're going to do. So for two months, I was able to go back to the old Sally. But the problem was, you can't turn that oceanliner around in that port in two months. Now I think had we had another year, we would have turned it around. But we didn't.

KING: What were your regular viewers saying about carnival Sally?

RAPHAEL: We lost them. We lost the Sally viewer. And you can't snap people's heads around, an audience. You can't do one type of show and then the next week you're doing another or, which was worse, what we were doing.

On Monday, we'd do one for the company, and then we'd do one for the gipper, and then we'd do one for the company. And people did not -- they came to their television sets not knowing what to expect.

KING: This is the worst.

RAPHAEL: And people would say to me, you know, I was with you all those years in radio and this is the kind of person and this is who you are. And I can't watch this. And so I lost that core audience and I never got...

KING: It had to be very difficult doing something you didn't like, even though you loved the business.

RAPHAEL: It was terribly difficult. It really, really was.

KING: I would imagine. You got to sit there and go for a whole hour of something you don't want to do.

RAPHAEL: There were times when I felt I needed a shower, right after I left the set.

KING: Really?

RAPHAEL: Yes. There were times.

KING: So, now you -- it's that close to 20 years, which would have been some kind of record, right, for you?

RAPHAEL: Yes. I'm not angry. These are business people. I'm a business woman who chose broadcasting as a way of earning a living. I understand, even when I disagree with the business decision, I understand how suits can make that business decision. The ratings are low. There is no doubt about that. They're not as low as a lot of shows that have been renewed for this year, but they are low.

KING: Are they replacing you with another kind of show for those stations that signed it?

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: What happened for the stations that signed up for the show?

RAPHAEL: I have no idea what they do. That much business I don't know. So I'm not angry. Am I disappointed? Do I believe they could have made it five more weeks so that I could have hit the 20- year mark? But that's important to me and that's not important to them as businessmen.

KING: More with Sally Jessy. We'll be including your phone calls. Betty Ford, tomorrow night on the 20th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SALLY")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the time of slavery, the white men did a lot of messing around. How can any of you, the four of you, guarantee me that you don't have any black blood?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have any black blood.

(CROSSTALK)

RAPHAEL: Actually, it's a pertinent question. How does one know that one has white or black or any color blood? (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Sally Jessy Raphael on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We will be taking your phone calls.

You said that what Jerry Springer does, he does very well. In a speech President Bush said they -- spoke about terrorists. And he said, they didn't think we were a nation that could conceivably sacrifice for something greater than ourselves, that we were soft, that we were self-absorbed and materialistic. And we wouldn't defend anything we believed in. In my opinion they were wrong, they were just reading the wrong magazine or watching the wrong Springer show.

RAPHAEL: Wait a minute. We have to be careful about knocking daytime. As you and I are sitting here talking right now, Tonya Harding and who is doing a boxing match? I wrote this down.

KING: Paula Jones.

RAPHAEL: You got it. So that's not daytime. Hello?

KING: Yes, well --

RAPHAEL: So it fits right into the thing, but --

KING: Is the Bush criticism fair or unfair?

RAPHAEL: The Bush criticism; I believe we are the strongest country in the world. We react -- we pulled together so quickly. You just show us a little bit of a problem and we're at it. Our -- I think --

KING: You think Springers contributes to the problem?

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: You don't?

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: You think it's harmless.

RAPHAEL: I think it is harmless and I think it's entertainment. I don't think it's elevating. I don't think it brings anything to the cultural table. But I don't think that we should be held up that -- I mean, Shakespearian plays had lots of low comedy. Anything that happened, you know in the -- below in the taverns. This is just every man's type of entertainment.

KING: Do you fear about where the trend is going? Do you think it's going more toward -- carnivals?

RAPHAEL: My husband says the second fall of the Roman Empire. Occasionally, I felt like a female Ulysses going with the witches. They were jealous witches and they were false deities, I guess. I don't --

KING: You think your show ever pandered?

RAPHAEL: Absolutely.

KING: You did?

RAPHAEL: Of course. Yes. Well, pandering means getting people to like you so that you get ratings, getting them to tune in. I mean -- you're more --

KING: Under that definition.

RAPHAEL: Yes. Under that definition. Do I think it exploited? No. Do I think it pandered? Yes.

KING: But you don't think it exploited the problems of everyday life?

RAPHAEL: I do not. I believe that Phil started. You have to realize that 20 years ago there were people in front of the television and people behind the -- on the television. And they didn't ever -- the people in front never thought they'd be on the television.

KING: Phil Donahue broke that barrier.

RAPHAEL: What Phil did -- Phil did and I did, Phil did issues, I did emotions. Phil opened the door, I walked through it and set up shop. And I brought on every man and every man sat down, felt very comfortable with me. They were in a safe haven. And every man told me about spousal abuse and rape and incest and teenage pregnancy and AIDS, and all of those things. So to me, more people got medical information, breast cancer, than read Jane Brody in "The New York Times."

KING: How about when some of these shows go too far? You got -- Springer did a show on secret mistresses, and apparently a murder occurred out of that. "Jenny Jones" had a death occur out of that. Is it going too far?

RAPHAEL: Do you -- could they not have been killed walking across the street?

KING: Of course.

RAPHAEL: OK.

KING: But they weren't.

RAPHAEL: OK, they weren't. So we point that finger and say that. And yes.

KING: So you're defending the Springers?

RAPHAEL: No, I'm not. I'm not. I believe they do go too far. I think that I don't apply the murders to what they're doing, but I do believe that they go too far...

KING: Why?

RAPHAEL: ... in terms of it -- it can be said to coarsen public taste. So If you would like to use that phrase.

KING: Why does the public like them? A percentage of them.

RAPHAEL: We're in a time of sex, we really are. If you take a look, we -- everything -- it's almost all encompassing. Everything about what we like to look at or like to watch, if you stood in front, like I did at the newsstand in the airport coming here today, I mean, it was breasts, tits and ass were everywhere. And feathers were everywhere and it's sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. And those shows rely heavily on sexual innuendo.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

RAPHAEL: So that -- no, it's always been with us. But it has never been as much as the center of the overriding culture of America as it is right now.

KING: How far is it going to go? How far is reality going to take us, with cable included?

RAPHAEL: I don't quite really understand what reality television is.

KING: Well, they call it reality. Your's was reality.

RAPHAEL: Yes.

KING: What is reality? News is reality.

RAPHAEL: Exactly.

KING: But we know what mean. Putting people in dark circumstances and weird things to make money.

RAPHAEL: Yes. People will tire of it, one would think. Although, I'm surprised to find some of these things have lasted as long as they've lasted. Every time I say, this can't go another year, shows what I know -- it does.

KING: By the way, what are you going to do?

RAPHAEL: Continue to do what I do.

KING: After April 25th?

RAPHAEL: Sure.

KING: But where?

RAPHAEL: Even now if somebody --

KING: You've been given an offer?

RAPHAEL: Oh, yes. In another venue. I can't do anything but communicate.

KING: You want to continue doing the "Sally Jessy Raphael" show somewhere?

RAPHAEL: No, I'd like to do some kind of a show. I haven't thought it through, you know, this is six days ago. And the hardest thing for me in the six days was telling the staff. So I couldn't tell them for four days because --

KING: This was a secret for four days? Didn't leak.

RAPHAEL: Didn't leak. We were really good -- damage control.

KING: How did you tell them?

RAPHAEL: Called them in, first the execs, told them. And then I had to go out and gather everyone around. And I stood there and I told them. And these are people like me who have mortgages, who have children they have to raise. There's only one show starting in New York. These are people, our company doesn't have another show to put them on. This is --

KING: So there's no jobs the company's going to get for them.

RAPHAEL: They said they will. We'll see.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I thought --

RAPHAEL: My camera men have been with me 14 to 16 years.

KING: I thought you didn't have economic -- you have a home in Nice.

RAPHAEL: Yes.

KING: You had restaurants. I thought that you were on easy street.

RAPHAEL: I haven't owned a restaurant since -- I think we closed that in '72.

KING: But you do live in Nice, France, right?

RAPHAEL: I do. I live on the dock in Nice, France. And I've been living there for six years. You know what's funny? Vivendi buys our company. A French company owns universal. I, to my knowledge, am the only French speaking person in the entire company and I was let go.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll be right back with more of Sally Jessy Raphael. She'll get her next job through "The New York Times." (LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAPHAEL: What do you do with your male parts when you're wearing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I take that one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should let Sherry take this.

SHERRY: The biggest question I get -- and Sally if I told you, then everybody would try it at home, and they might get hurt. So we might just want to keep that a secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think most men have done it at one point in their life. They've stood in front of a full-length mirror, and you know, and seen how they look.

SHERRY: Two words: duct tape.

RAPHAEL: Duct tape.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Alabama was it lawful the way the police did Martin Luther King and all those civil rights they beat up (UNINTELLIGIBLE) It was the law but it was unlawful.

RAPHAEL: Wait, wait, wait! I resent you putting yourself, no matter how messionic you are, in the same breath as Martin Luther King. I resent that.

Do you understand the word messionic?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you understand the word illegal? What they did was illegal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Sally, what was that all about? Was that you standing up pointing a finger in someone's face?

RAPHAEL: Yes, that's the real me. They were torturing children. It's a religious group that believes that when the child misbehaves the entire congregation should beat the child in front of the congregation.

KING: How relevant is that, Sally? Where is that occurring in the United States, 2...

RAPHAEL: Atlanta, Georgia.

KING: That is done just for audience, right?

RAPHAEL: No, that is not done for the audience. That was done as part of a series of shows about the misuses of fundamentalist religion.

KING: You did a whole pack of them?

RAPHAEL: We did a lot of those, yes, because these people were absolutely sure that they were right. You know, you saw first the woman of the Klan. And that woman after she went to San Francisco with me called the next day and said, I just saw myself and I can't believe what hatred came out of my mouth. I am sorry. I am sorry. And then we had a brother and sister who didn't know that they were brother and sister who got married. And we followed their story.

KING: What do you make of all these people going on television, Donahue and you, why do they go on? Why do people go on television to say, I'm sleeping with my brother's fiancee? Why?

RAPHAEL: Well, they never said that to me. So I don't know. What they have said to me is I'm in pain. What they have said to me is, I'm at a crossroads and I have nowhere to go.

KING: Why go on television to say that?

RAPHAEL: Because we help them. Because we help them. We had the most extensive after-care program that you can imagine. Cost the company an awful lot of money. I'm very, proud.

KING: That was for real then?

RAPHAEL: Absolutely for real. Absolutely.

KING: You think a lot of it might have had to do with 15 minutes of fame?

RAPHAEL: No. No, I don't think so. I think that people who want -- are you asking me if an occasional drag queen wanted 15 minutes of fame, yes.

KING: A sister and a woman and a wife and a mother.

RAPHAEL: You know what? They didn't want fame. They really didn't. I'm not so -- I can't be that way. I believed that these people needed help wanted help. And you know what they wanted, they wanted to know that they weren't alone.

KING: Why through all of this, Sally, has Oprah lasted?

RAPHAEL: It was the right place at the right time and she owns the show.

KING: But she hasn't bowed to the Springers.

RAPHAEL: No, she owns it. She didn't have to do what a boss told her to do. There is a big difference.

KING: Are her ratings down?

RAPHAEL: Yes, her ratings are quite down, of course. Everybody in all of television's ratings have been going down as we had cable, as we had the computer.

KING: There are more opportunities for everybody every day.

RAPHAEL: Oprah has probably lost half of her audience but she started from a higher plane. So if she loses half, that's a big difference than if you are not on that higher plane and you lose that...

KING: What do you make of her announcement that she's going to toss it after...

RAPHAEL: In 2006?

KING: Yes.

RAPHAEL: I wish her well.

KING: Four years.

RAPHAEL: Good. Good for her.

KING: Are you envious of her?

RAPHAEL: No, not at all. She's very good. An excellent broadcaster.

KING: Would you go back to radio?

RAPHAEL: I don't know. The discipline has become -- was very hard. The reason I left radio is because, as you know, you have to be there and you have to be -- it's live and you have to be there. And that requires a tremendous amount of discipline.

KING: 60 talk shows went on the air since you started.

RAPHAEL: No. 60 went off.

KING: 60 went off. So you've seen them come and go.

RAPHAEL: Yes.

KING: As you reflect on yourself, why did you last?

RAPHAEL: I'm comfortable. I'm a pioneer. I'm a familiar face. I'm very comfortable with people. I listen to them. And not a lot of people really do listen. I care, and I think people know that I care. And I try to do something about what they -- I try to give them what they need.

KING: Are you hearing from viewers yet, since this broke?

RAPHAEL: No. . Because you see, have to explain to viewers a lot about the business and that's very difficult, you know. I don't think people should care. You care or I care, we love to know what's happening.

KING: You don't think viewers should care when you're on?

RAPHAEL: No, I mean they shouldn't care about the intricacies of the business. They say, well, why aren't you here? To try to explain it to them like I explained to you just takes up their time. I think generally people really wish me well. There are a few who don't, but most people do.

KING: You've had your share of tabloidism and tabloids dealing with you. How have you buckled up?

RAPHAEL: No. 1, I think it through and think what they're going to do. For example, when my daughter died, I figured out as if I were doing -- as if I were a general with an army, I figured out how to have a funeral and not have the paparazzi catch me at the funeral.

KING: Which was?

RAPHAEL: Disguised myself. I walked to the funeral. I didn't ride in the car. I just knew how to do it. I'm quite good at that. I think it's the price that one pays.

KING: Accepted price?

RAPHAEL: Accepted price. I think you cannot argue with that. You chose this profession, you get well paid. They have a right to talk about you. But if you don't want them to in a very personal moment, you can confuse them.

KING: Have you been able to accept -- your daughter killed herself?

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: Drugs killed her.

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: What did she die of?

RAPHAEL: She died of adult crib death.

KING: Really? All the stories were wrong.

RAPHAEL: Oh, absolutely it was wrong. Absolutely. I did the hardest thing a mother could do. I did an autopsy. I had to find out if she had taken drugs or had done that. Because people automatically assume that. KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) son I think that died of crib death.

RAPHAEL: That's right. The same thing. I want you to know that about a week after Allison died -- I didn't know them, and they called me in the middle of the night. Adult crib death.

KING: Sally Jessie Raphael will be including your phone calls. She's had an extraordinary run at it and she ain't going anywhere. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAPHAEL: Where does your son sleep?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is sleeping on the couch right now.

RAPHAEL: On the couch. And where does your daughter sleep?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A home made bed, a hand made bed that my grandfather had made.

RAPHAEL: Aawwww. There are some really nice people who have a big smiling baby on their label. They are called the Gerber products company. And we were able to get you some things that you need.

(APPLAUSE)

RAPHAEL: They've got bikes now, and they've got clothes. We don't do this very often, but someone who wants to remain anonymous wanted to give you something very special. The key goes to a new home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAPHAEL: The police told us that our 19-year-old son JJ had been in a terrible car accident and they did not know if he was still alive. After what seemed like an eternity, we were standing at JJ's side in a hospital, where he lay in a coma. My husband Carl and I wondered whether he would ever wake up again. The doctors told us the car that JJ was driving had violently crashed into a tree, took almost an hour to cut through the wreckage and remove JJ and two of his friends from the car. They weren't drinking, they weren't speeding, they were wearing their seatbelts, the car was in good condition. For 10 endless hours in the operating room, a team of doctors were literally putting JJ's body back together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Why did you get so personal?

RAPHAEL: I think that's part of why people came to me and talked to me, because I will them about my life, too. That makes people feel more comfortable.

KING: We have a clip. Your son eventually came to your show, right?

RAPHAEL: Yes, he did. He eventually came to the show. JJ has problems. He'll always have problems. You can't have TBI, which is traumatic brain injury...

KING: There he is coming onto your set.

RAPHAEL: ... not have problems. There he is. And of course his leg, he had pins, those are pins.

KING: How is he doing?

RAPHAEL: Well, he has problems. He'll always have problems, I think. I -- the boss got a little upset, because somebody had printed that I had -- they had phoned me. I promised I'd do a retraction. I didn't lie. It wasn't me. But they called me in. So there's the retraction I promised that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) said I would do.

KING: Wait, I don't follow you. Retraction of what?

RAPHAEL: They didn't call me, they called me in. They didn't call me on the phone.

KING: I see. Misprint, it said they called you.

RAPHAEL: They called me, but it was called me in.

KING: So that sets the record straight.

RAPHAEL: So they ought to be -- yes, they ought to be a little happier now.

KING: Marlboro, New Jersey for Sally Jessy Raphael. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. Sally, earlier you had said that you felt that the difference between you and Donahue was that he dealt with issues and you dealt with emotions. Do you think that you would be better off at this point in your career if you dealt more with issues with an emotional approach?

RAPHAEL: Yes. Yes.

KING: Good question.

RAPHAEL: Good question, and really wonderful insight. Thank you. You know when I knew there was going to be a problem with me? I was in Africa about two years ago, and I visited like a witch doctor, a shaman. And all he could say to me is, you are very wise. And I knew at that moment, daytime television, it was over. If he'd said, you know, you're funny or you're this or you're that, that may have worked, but the minute he said, "you are wise" -- I knew there was a problem.

KING: Would you do daytime...

RAPHAEL: Wisdom is not a saleable commodity.

KING: Do you want to change? Do you want to do nighttime? Do you want to do mornings? Do you want to do...

RAPHAEL: I haven't thought it through. It's come too quickly, so I haven't.

KING: Is it hard to work now when you know you're leaving? Is it hard to go to work? I know you got to fulfill the contract.

RAPHAEL: You got to go fulfill the contract.

KING: But is it hard?

RAPHAEL: No. There's a certain freedom. There's a nice freedom about it. Like something that might have upset me because it mattered, you know, I can just more laugh it off now. No, it's not harder. I think it's even easier.

KING: What do you look at the -- when they write the history of television, Sally Jessy's contributions, what would be the lead you'd say of yourself? What would you say to people, "I did"?

RAPHAEL: I did a lot of years. Forty-six years is a lot of years for just television, and then when you add 30-some odd out on radio. I would say that being a foreign correspondent, which I was -- I worked for AP and UPI covering Central America because I speak Spanish. I'm from Puerto Rico, obviously. And I covered Europe, speaking French. Those were great -- I interviewed Papa Doc. I went to Guatemala when they were overthrowing the government in Guatemala. I went to the Dominican Republic with all of that. I was very proud of that. I was probably one of the first female news anchors after Pat Harper on Channel 11 in New York.

KING: Really?

RAPHAEL: People don't remember that I was a news anchor. I was one of the -- I'm sure I was the single first female disk jockey in New York City. WNEW-FM. They split the AM and the FM, and I was the morning person against William Dee Williams (ph) on the AM.

KING: What were you doing in Puerto Rico?

RAPHAEL: I lived there almost 27 years. My father was in business.

KING: That's where you broke in?

RAPHAEL: Oh, yeah.

KING: That was the beginning of it all?

RAPHAEL: That was the beginning.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) television.

RAPHAEL: Yes, both.

KING: And then you came to Miami?

RAPHAEL: Well, people think I went from radio to television. I went from television to radio.

KING: That was strange. You went television first.

RAPHAEL: Yes. Do you know, I think you and I are the only two who have done that.

KING: I did radio first.

RAPHAEL: No, but who goes back and forth? How many people do we know, besides the two of us, who have done radio and television -- long careers in radio and long careers in television?

KING: Well, I guess I never thought of it.

RAPHAEL: I think we're the only two.

KING: I never treated television differently, though.

RAPHAEL: I didn't either.

KING: It's radio with pictures.

RAPHAEL: Yes.

KING: Too many people go on television and think, you got to be...

RAPHAEL: Exactly.

KING: ... on television.

RAPHAEL: Exactly!

KING: Our guest is Sally Jessy Raphael. She's leaving, but maybe not leaving. And we'll take more calls when we come back. We have another clip. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAPHAEL: What do you remember about that night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember I had gone to pick up two friends. Afterward, we had then gone from there to go and meet a third friend after talking. And we had gone down off a road I've only gone on a couple of times. And the last thing I remember was losing control of the car, and I remember seeing the tree hitting us. And I tried to grab control of the car, and I remember losing control, just totally.

RAPHAEL: And being -- and thrown around in the car, and then the tree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL SHOW")

RAPHAEL: I looked at you three times and I -- oh, my goodness. And I didn't see a thing on you. Holy mackerel. Not only that, I watched you move. You don't have anything else. Oh, no.

Do you have anything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's all.

RAPHAEL: I am really shocked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Was that a display of a kid with weapons or was that a kid with weapons?

RAPHAEL: That was a young man who, post-Columbine, has gone around to show with the baggy pants how he can -- and he walked through a metal detector.

KING: You're kidding.

RAPHAEL: And unloaded all of that.

KING: Boy, was that effective. Before we take the next call, what do you make of the Andrea Yates decision. The jury will start tomorrow deliberating on death sentence.

RAPHAEL: There was a very good article in today's "Times" about people talking about her having postpartum blues when indeed it is schizophrenia. And it is the uniqueness of the law in Texas, I think, that says what -- how cognizant you have to be of what you are doing. And because she was able to call the police and because -- 911, and then then she was able to say, I've done nothing wrong, on that grounds she was accused. But I think there's a problem with the way we interpret being insane or committing a crime.

KING: Her lawyer said if she doesn't fit insanity, no one does.

RAPHAEL: I think that's probably true.

KING: Do you think she'll get the death penalty?

RAPHAEL: I do not think she'll get the death penalty. I think she'll get life in prison. My guess.

KING: To Flint, Michigan, for Sally Jessy Raphael. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: How are you doing, Larry?

KING: I'm doing fine. Go ahead.

CALLER: I just wanted to ask Ms. Rafael, there is so much repetition in the daytime TV and I've watched your show, Ms. Raphael so much. I would just like to ask with the big hype with Jerry Springer, I thought you had to take that direction, that trash negativity. Whatever happened to the positivity?

RAPHAEL: I agree with you. I mean, there's nothing more that I can say.

KING: But there is sameness.

(CROSSTALK)

Were you the first one that did makeovers?

RAPHAEL: Yes. We were the first one to do makeovers, the first one to do DNA, the first one to do lie detector tests. The whole way people walk on and then some people walk off, and then we did reunions. And all of those were things that we kind of invented that became classic in their patterns.

I agree with him. I kept -- that's what I said to you. I don't think we can continue to do these topics over and over and over and over. But I must be wrong. There are shows doing them every day and getting ratings.

KING: And the reason has to be? Interest. People are interested.

RAPHAEL: Exactly. People do not tire of it. This is a democracy and they vote with their eyeballs in terms of what goes on the air.

KING: And you don't see any upswing anywhere? There's no sign yet to you?

RAPHAEL: Yes, to me there was a good sign at nine -- after 9/11. And the good sign was that somebody threw water in our face and said that we need to be aware of what's going on in our country and we need to be aware of the news. And just as daytime is falling, you guys at CNN and all the other news channels, you're going up. And you're going up rightfully because people don't want to make an appointment.

You know, when people were talking about Ted Koppel, I was saying, well, I'm not sure they want to make an appointment to go and see Ted Koppel. And that's what you have to do when, if you're watching a news channel, you tune in any time. And you leave it like that. So that's to me an upswing. The awareness of the world, we were extremely insular prior to that. I don't think we knew who, you know, what was going on in any other country. Now we do.

KING: By the way, where were you that morning?

RAPHAEL: I saw it. First, my daughter's best friend was -- she was talking to her on the phone. And she was on the 93rd floor, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Was killed?

RAPHAEL: Yes, of course.

KING: And you saw it on television?

RAPHAEL: No, I was driving to work. And I have a clear view down Park Avenue of the Twin Towers. And the first plane I had heard about on the radio as I was getting ready. I got in the car to go to work and I watched the tower and I saw the second plane going in.

KING: Did you tape that day?

RAPHAEL: Yes.

KING: You did do shows?

RAPHAEL: Absolutely.

KING: How could you?

RAPHAEL: I chose the day I had my daughter. I did a show and then went to the hospital.

KING: But, I mean, you didn't do shows about the accident?

RAPHAEL: No. They're planned weeks in advance.

KING: I know. So how could you even function when the whole world is just talking about -- how did the studio audience react?

RAPHAEL: I don't know. I don't remember.

KING: Amazing. We'll be right back with more of Sally Jessy Raphael. Betty Ford tomorrow night. Mike Wallace on Friday. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL SHOW")

RAPHAEL: I took 20 kids on a shopping spree. And what Marshalls did was they gave each child $100. They could spend it any way they want. Did they go for it? Take a look.

Hi, guys. Wow. Hi, guys. Are you ready for a special adventure?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Yes!

RAPHAEL: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. There's something wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Yes!

RAPHAEL: Oh, much better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Sally's been under a lot of pressure lately. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she did not work that day.

RAPHAEL: We didn't work that day. We worked two days later.

KING: Two days later, and they did do shows about 9-11.

RAPHAEL: I am not allowed to live in the land of the pop culture icons anymore.

KING: Some people are calling in -- some people are calling in wondering how you are not very rich, all these years of being on television.

RAPHAEL: They think everybody earns what Oprah earns. You know?

KING: But you made a good living, but you can't retire?

RAPHAEL: No. That's right.

KING: Period? There aren't millions put away?

RAPHAEL: No.

KING: You never had a piece of the action?

RAPHAEL: No, never owned a piece of it.

KING: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

RAPHAEL: Oh, my uncle lives in Wilkes-Barre.

KING: Hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show.

KING: Thank you. What's the question? .

CALLER: Sally, I know you lost a daughter, and I just recently lost mine. And I was wondering how you cope with it and go day by day?

KING: The unimaginable, the loss of a child.

RAPHAEL: You don't. You don't. This is not... KING: But you do, you get up and you go to work.

RAPHAEL: Well, I don't denigrate somebody's pain by saying, you know -- I hate platitudes. Thank goodness somebody's in a better place, this, this, this, I hate that kind of thing. The pain is there and you walk through the pain. And that's all I have to say about it. That's all you can do. It never goes away. It will never be all right, never.

KING: Portland, Oregon. Hello.

CALLER: Yes.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I'm here.

KING: All right. Go ahead.

CALLER: I think Sally is very courageous. And I would like to know if she thinks moving to France had played any part in the cancellation of her program since the strifes of the USA?

RAPHAEL: Thank you. No. I moved -- first of all, I have a place in France. I live in the United States. I spend about 30 percent of my time there, but that was six years ago. That had nothing to do with the strife of the United States.

KING: Why do you live in France?

RAPHAEL: And -- I don't -- those were my vacation times that I spent. So I didn't take anything away from the show. In fact, it added, I think, things to the show. Why? I made a list of what I thought would be the best place to live. It had to have a direct airplane flight. It had to have an airport in the center of town. It had to be warm, temperate climate. It had to be a city. I'd wear out a resort. It would have to have a ballet, a department store and a philharmonic and an opera. It had to have a lot of places that were historical around it.

And I added it all -- and oh, and I love to eat and I love to drink wine, and I love a certain sense of style. And so this fit the bill, and I had looked for 20 years for a place like this. So it's a big city; 50,000 people live in Nice.

KING: And you can watch this show.

RAPHAEL: I watch you all the time.

KING: In Nice, right?

RAPHAEL: Darn right. You're my touch.

KING: Must be -- is it -- did it take a while being accustomed to living in a foreign country? RAPHAEL: No. Because I lived outside the United States so much. I lived in Puerto Rico. I went to school in Paris when I was a kid. I lived in Mexico for two years while I was making a movie. I've lived a lot of different places.

I love being an American, but I speak other languages -- and, no, I'm not uncomfortable. They make it very comfortable. I was -- just had a wonderful honor last week, they must not have known about the show. They made me an honorary citizen of Nice. Now, the first one was Napoleon Bonapart, and the last one, three years ago, was Elton John. And I'm the next one. So it's a big deal for them. Big crystal eagle and all of that, so I'm very proud of my adopted city.

KING: They're not taking it back because your show was canceled?

RAPHAEL: You know, I was thinking about that. Take the whole thing back, put somebody else's name on it. I'm doing a publishing -- an arm of a publishing house. You know that the ideas that we couldn't do on the show, we've gotten books together about them. Like the first book is called "Bullies," and it's called the "Red Eyeglasses Series," and Health Publications is putting them out. They're pretty good.

KING: Books about -- what do you mean you couldn't do on the show?

RAPHAEL: Well, you can't really solve all the problems that people have. So I have what is known as an imprint, it's an arm of a publishing house. It's not a book club. It's not like Oprah's. It's an arm of a publishing house, and we had just published our first book called "Bullies." It's the "Red Eyeglasses" series.

And it's funny how many bullies -- I mean, you think of bullies in the schoolyard. I was watching the young man and I thought about the book. And how many bosses are bullies, how many boardroom people are bullies. And you know, when they start at the schoolyard, they continue until someone stops them. And usually they say, I wish somebody had stopped me earlier.

KING: You're saying there's still bullies in business and bullies in...?

RAPHAEL: Sure. In broadcasting, aren't there?

KING: I don't run into too many, and they seem a thing of the past.

RAPHAEL: They don't bully you. Oh, no, not a thing of the past. There is always somebody in an office who is a bully. If you ask most people who work today in offices or factories, do they know a bully, everybody would probably say yes. I think they don't bully men as much as they bully women. Maybe that's why you haven't run into as many as I have.

KING: You've been bullied a lot?

RAPHAEL: Oh, yeah, I think so. Sure.

KING: All right. We have 30 seconds. You have no anger at the people who run the show?

RAPHAEL: No. No. Disappointment, but no anger.

KING: Disappointment not anger?

RAPHAEL: Absolutely. You know what someone told me, they said to me once that you should never leave your heart at home when you go to work, and so I've managed to take my heart with me every time I went to work and my heart's been sitting on the set on home base, and the heart has had a wonderful chance to talk to people for 19 years, so I'm grateful.

KING: Thanks for coming here to tell us.

RAPHAEL: Thank you.

KING: Good luck. You'll be somebody.

Sally Jessy Raphael. She will not need a benefit. We'll tell you about tomorrow night after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The Betty Ford Center is 20 years old. The former first lady is our special guest tomorrow night. And on Friday, Mike Wallace. Saturday night, a special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND with Oscar nominees.

Right now, it's time to turn it over to New York, to "NEWSNIGHT" and Aaron Brown.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


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