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Interviews With Ann Coulter, Ryan Seacrest

Aired August 7, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight Ann Coulter. She's conservative. She's outspoken. Her book's almost No. 1. She's going to take your calls. Plus, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. Also, a No. 1 rated radio host with opinions on everything and some of them may surprise you and then Ryan Seacrest and what an hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Ann Coulter. She is the author of "the New York Times" runaway best seller "Treason." The subtitle is "Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism." We thank Ann for being with us.

Before we get into the book and lots of things, and your phone calls, let's get into the major topic on hand, which everyone is talking about. In fact, let's show you what happened last night on the "Tonight Show" and then get Ann to comment. Here, let's go back to last evening.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR, RUNNING FOR GOV. CALIF.: The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He's failing them terribly and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I'm going to run for governor of the State of California.


KING: Ann, you're an outspoken pundant, did you expect that?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: No, I don't think anyone did. That was part of what was so brilliant about it. If it had been leaked before, I don't think it would have been as enormous news as it was. This was just the contrary of what all the sources were saying. So, it was huge news.

In addition to being such a surprise, I think the odds are very high that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the next California governor, which is also big news.

KING: Now, he's not an Ann Coulter kind of conservative, he's not a conservative. How do you feel about this?

COULTER: That is certainly the rumor, we don't know too much about what kind of Republican he is, but I'm impressed enough that he's in Hollywood, he's married to a Kennedy and he still calls him himself a Republican. That's good enough for me.

KING: Well, he calls himself a moderate Republican. What do you make of the idea of recall?

COULTER: Well, it's been on the books since 1911. It's been tried I think over 100 times, I mean, it's often they try to recall governors. They tried to recall Governor Reagan, Governor Brown, this is the first time it's made it this far. I think there's a reason for that. Gray Davis has been an absolute disaster, he's visibly corrupt. He is buying off votes from state workers with ludicrous pensions, 90 percent pensions, bankrupting the state and leading to a deficit of $38 billion, larger than the state budgets of all 50 states other than New York and California. So I think it's not surprising that people are drawing up the black flag and slitting throats at this point.

KING: But, Ann, aren't deficits the order of the day? We have an enormous federal deficit.

COULTER: That's true but the other 48 states have managed to avoid a $38 billion deficit and, I mean, it's more than that. You can see how this deficit came about. It wasn't just, oh, gosh, we were just spending on firemen and police and suddenly it's $38 billion. There really were some outrageous changes made to pension systems of state workers. To buy the state workers' votes. Gray Davis wasn't honest about the deficit, when he was running for re-election and I think it is not a surprise this is happening.

I think California would be lucky to get a moderate Republican, even if there are many things, I am assuming there are many things, if Schwarzenegger is a liberal or moderate Republican. There may be a lot of things I disagree with him about, but who cares? I mean, for example, general moderately Republican means a person is a pro- abortion Republican. So what is the governor of California going to do? They need to get their budget under control. The most a government can do to support abortion is to put in a kind word for justice suitor. How is that going to help California.

KING: All right, let's get to the book. Why so harsh a title?

COULTER: I thought it was appropriate to the subject matter. I am covering a 50-year history that begins with actual traitors, Soviet spies, agents of Joseph Stalin, who fit comfortably within the Democratic party and were defended by Democrats and not obscure Hollywood types, not the Susan Sarandon's of their day, but Democratic presidents, Democratic secretaries of state. If FDR had responded forcefully when he was first told that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy and that there were dozens of Soviet spies back in his administration -- that was back in 1939 -- all of America wouldn't lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation for the next 50 years.

KING: You choose to -- you include Harry Truman in that as a traitor. You calling Harry Truman a traitor?

COULTER: No. I am talking about the treason of ideas. Some of them...

KING: Because you're not saying these are complisant traitors working with foreign nations to overthrow the United States? COULTER: Oh, no, no, no, though some of them were traitors, like I say, the Rosenberg's, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White who was promoted by President Truman after President Truman was warned that Harry Dexter white was a Soviet spy. It was so shocking that when President Eisenhower came into office he directed his attorney general to go on national TV and state that President Truman promoted -- wittingly promoted a Soviet spy.

KING: You're not saying he was a witting complisitor, Harry Truman...

COULTER: No, no, no ,no...

KING: ...of treason.

COULTER: No, I am talking about an entire party. Would it that it were so simple.

KING: Because you also...

COULTER: It was treason of a whole party.

KING: say it has a lot to do with the rise of Communism, but Truman had a secretary of state named Marshal, the Marshal plan prevented Communism in Greece and Turkey, stopped the spread of Communism in Greece and Turkey. Joe McCarthy called Marshal a traitor for which Truman lambasted him and later even Eisenhower would criticize him before McCarthy was censored. What do you make of all that?

COULTER: I'm glad you bring that up because those are two things -- two facts I correct in my book. One is Joe McCarthy never called Marshal a traitor. He did give a three-hour speech on the Senate floor detailing Marshal's record. It is now a book titled "Retreat From Victory."

And the Marshal plan, though Marshal's name adorns it, interestingly enough Marshal opposes the principle elements of the plan. It's true the Marshal Plan was a powerful force in fending off Communism from western Europe. It has been credited with that, that is the beauty of the plan. It was also the part of the plan that George Marshal opposed. He saw it as a do gooder or welfare scheme for the entire world. He wanted to extend the Marshal Plan to the Soviet Union.

So, though his name is on it, the very beauty of the Marshal Plan as a weapon in the Cold War was opposed by George Marshal and that was one of the things McCarthy mentioned.

KING: However, Republicans have extended it to the Soviet Union in current Russia, right? Reagan extended that hand to the Soviet Union, did he not?

COULTER: After defeating the Soviet Union, I don't care what he did.

KING: Well Marshal may have been ahead of his time, but the question comes, you praise Joe McCarthy, why?

COULTER: For one thing, to tell the truth about Joe McCarthy, most of the history about McCarthy you'll notice doesn't have many facts or details. It's just enunciations. He was a demagogue. He was a bully and told lies.

KING: All that's true.

COULTER: It isn't true.

KING: He was not a demagogue? Joe McCarthy was not a demagogue?

COULTER: No, I think he was a great speaker and a politician, no more than your average Senator. He was more popular than your average Senator. He was extremely popular, in fact...

KING: Not when he was censored he wasn't. Not when Walsh took him on at the Army McCarthy hearings and lambasted him. He wasn't popular then.

COULTER: The elites, he was never popular with. That is part of the myth of McCarthyism. That he held a terrified nation captive. Oh too, the contrary, liberals were having a ball. They denounced him from the rooftops. He was denounced in every newspaper in American. In fact, he won a liable suit against a newspaper. Nobody ever won a liable suit against him.

He was investigated four times by the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, Soviet spies are crawling through the United States government.

KING: You know he never named -- did he ever name one spy? Caught by Joe McCarthy?

COULTER: Sure, dozens. I mention them in my book.

KING: Name one.

COULTER: William Remington, Gostavo Duran (ph), Mary Jane Keany (ph).

KING: He was convicted of spying on their country?

COULTER: Some were. Remington was. He names dozens of them, but the point is we now know many spies were not convicted, they were being defended by Democrats. We now have encrypted Soviet cables and we know who the spies were.

KING: The point of your book is that liberals contribute to treachery.

COULTER: It is a party that has become a comfortable home for traitors, that is a wing of the Democratic party.

KING: Is the Republican party a comfortable home for bigots?

COULTER: I don't think so. KING: Far right wing wackoes?

COULTER: Trent Lott makes a toast at an old timers birthday party.

KING: Ann, can you take the extreme of anything?


KING: Do Republicans support dictators who are right wing and often been treacherous to their people.

COULTER: Let me take your first example. Because, I think...

KING: I think you label a whole group treacherous.

COULTER: I think your first question is useful to make this point. Look, Trent Lott makes a toast at an old timers 100th birthday party, an inelegant toast. He's thrown off the leadership position. Meanwhile, we don't get that reaction from the Democratic party with, for example, Alger Hiss with dozens of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that ferociously defended these people and...


KING: It was the Republicans that removed Trent Lott from the leadership.

COULTER: Correct, we gang up for....

KING: Why?

COULTER: ..even an elegant statement.

KING: OK. All right.

Let me get a break. The book is "Treason." We'll go to your calls for Ann Coulter. It's a No. 1 "New York Times" best seller with "Slander," and I'm going to ask her if she's got this unusual, tremendous financial offer to do a bunch of new books.

Ann Coulter is our guest. Ryan Seacrest still to come. And by the way, we're going to repeat an interview we did with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It'll air this Sunday night.


SCHWARZENEGGER: What we have to concentrate on is leadership. In everything I ever did, I showed great leadership. There were times when people said, it can never be done, that an Austrian farm boy can come over to America and get into the movie business and be successful in the movie business.


SCHWARZENEGGER: They said we cannot pronounce your name. You cannot speak English well and your body is overdeveloped. And you know what happened? I became the highest paid entertainer in the world, OK? I always reached my goals because I always was very passionate about all those things. I'm passionate about California.



KING: Before we take calls for Ann Coulter, author of "Treason," you're always known as an upfront person who says what's happening and speaks the truth. Are you about to sign a major, multi-million dollar deal to write a series of books?

COULTER: I hope so.

KING: Is that in the works?

COULTER: I seem to have a -- I haven't signed it yet. I have a very good deal coming.

KING: And it looks like you're going to sign.


KING: OK. Are you surprised at the success of "Treason"?

COULTER: I'm delighted. I think this is the most important of the three books I've written and I thought the other two were pretty important "High Crimes and Misdemeanors About Clinton" and "Slander" about argument in this country. This was the most important book, and I was worried that Americans might not be that interested in reading about 50 years of history. Of course, I try to spice it up. I have a few jokes, and I think it's an interesting book.

But still, I was worried about getting as many people to read about people who lived 50 years ago, as people who are public figures today. So I am delighted. It is outselling "Slander."

KING: Tampa, as we go to calls for Ann Coulter, the author, of "Treason," hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for your guest is concerning the 9/11 report that has large sections blacked out. Does she feel that the information should be made available if it's true about other nations, such as Saudi Arabia's involvement in that 9/11?

COULTER: I don't know enough about it, but on the basis of the 30 pages that the president says that should not be made public because it would put the country at risk, I think Bush has done a pretty credible job running the war on terrorism so far and for 30 pages he should be given the benefit of the doubt here. I may end up losing.

KING: Do you have any thoughts about -- do you have any thoughts that maybe Saudi Arabia is -- that some in the administration are covering for this country? COULTER: That is what's been leaking about the 30 pages that it has to do with Saudi Arabia. I think Saudi Arabia is a very imperfect ally. There's a lot of elements who are absolutely the enemies of America within that government, but I think we have to decide what we need to do. In this particular case, we seem to be doing what liberals want to do with all of our enemies, which is be nice to them and encourage them to drive the hardliners out. I think that makes some sense in the case of Saudi Arabia.

KING: Denver, Colorado, for Ann Coulter, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: My question to Ann is how does she think she knows so much about all American people?

KING: You mean -- to label an entire group, Ann? In other words, how about American voting liberals? People who tend to vote -- for example, liberals gave us Medicare, Social Security, time-and-a- half for overtime -- they gave us some pretty nice things. They were liberal ideas.

COULTER: Right. I'm writing about foreign policy and the defense of the nation and I'm certainly not writing about the average Democrat living in Denver, Colorado, for example.

KING: But you slander them -- not slander them -- you harm them when you say the people they like are traitors.

COULTER: No, I am speaking directly to them. I am saying if you love your country, you're voting for the wrong party. And as evidence for that I would cite the fact that in polls of your average Democrat these days, Lieberman is fairly popular, but he is not the choice among the elites, the people running the party in Malibu and Manhattan. John Dean (sic) seems to be their choice. John Dean seems to be doing the best among the primary voters.

KING: Hoard Dean. Howard Dean.

COULTER: Howard Dean, sorry. Did I say John?

KING: Was that Fredudian -- no. South Bend, Indiana, for Ann Coulter, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I was -- wanted to ask Ann what would be the first five policy changes she would advocate if all the liberals up and moved to Siberia tomorrow?

COULTER: At the moment, I don't think we need any because what I'm writing about is foreign policy and the defense of the nation and, as I say, I think the Bush administration is doing a fabulous job. Oh no, I'm sorry, there is one policy change. I would fire Norman Minneta and I would allow airport -- he's the secretary of transportation -- and I would allow airport security to look -- give an extra little look at people who look like the last two dozen terrorists.

KING: By the way, do you criticize Bush I for not taking out Hussein? That was an area of foreign policy.

COULTER: Yes. But the Democrats screamed bloody murder.

KING: But he didn't do it. He could have done it. He didn't do it.

COULTER: I don't know that he could have. I don't think he could have.

KING: Was that treachery?

COULTER: I don't think -- well, two things. I don't think -- first, as a practical matter, I don't think he could have, as at least the Democrats said he couldn't. If they authorized war with Iraq in order to protect Kuwait. They -- if you look back at the Senate debates then, they screamed bloody murder not going to Baghdad.

KING: But he said he didn't favor it. Schwarzkopf didn't favor it. Powell didn't favor it. Was that treacherous?

COULTER: No, I think -- and secondly, as for the war itself, I wasn't that enthusiastic about that war. Unfortunately, presidents can't talk directly to the American people. Now that I know more about what was going on in the Middle East and that we have a swamp over there with -- full of people burning with desire to slaughter Americans, I would have been a little more enthusiastic about the first Gulf War at the time. It didn't really matter. I was just practicing law at the time, so it didn't matter what my opinion was.

But I think if the president had said there are a bunch of fanatics over there. This guy is going to be sitting on half the world's oil. He is a mad man and we're going to take him out, I would have been more persuaded than we're going to protect the people of Kuwait.

I must say, apart from 9/11, I am not enthusiastic about the United States going around and being the world's policemen.

KING: About Ann Coulter's book "Slander." The L.A. Times said, "Ann Coulter is never in doubt. She has bright writing, sense of irony and outrage in a relish that's finally hitting back at political opponents.

Her new one, "Treason," is her bestseller ever. We'll be back with more calls for Ann Coulter. Here's a clip from the interview we're going to replay Sunday with Arnold Schwarzenegger.


KING: Quoted as saying you might want to be governor of this state some day, is that throwing things out or serious?

SCHWARZENEGGER: What I said is that I have thought about it many times, you know, should I run for office or not. And I was offered to run for Senate in Congress and governor and other things, of course, I thought about it many times, but I'm too much involved in show business at this time in order to even consider.

KING: At this time?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Because I can't talk about what happened five to ten years from now.



KING: We're back with Ann Coulter, author of "Treason." This just in, in a blow to Gray Davis' chances to survival the California Supreme Court announced today they would not consider legal challenges in the attempt to recall and replace him. It clears the way for the October 7 election.

We go to Boston, Massachusetts, for Ann Coulter. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry, hi, Ann.

Can you compare and contrast California's recall with Florida's recount?

How do you see them as potentially similar or different?

COULTER: They're different. One is constitutionally provided for, it's been on the books since 1911, as I say, it's been tried many times before, but this time the voters actually are going to push it through, it looks like. The other one was Al Gore's temper tantrum because he lost an election.

KING: Portland, Maine, for Ann Coulter. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, good evening. Ann, I just got done reading your book, actually both of them "Treason" and "Slander." I found them very interesting. But a question I had may not pertain to your book "Treason," it has to deal with JFK, if you have a theory or any, I don't know, any questions or any doubts about who really shot JFK.

COULTER: None whatsoever.

KING: You accept the findings of the commission and the like?

COULTER: I suppose so. I never looked into that. Obviously, I have been busily researching other things about JFK, and that's to say how he ran foreign policy. He's an interesting case because I mean, he is a good example of an older Democrat. You reflect back on him with tenderness. He was a ferocious anti-communist, his brother, of course, worked for McCarthy. JFK defended McCarthy calling him a great American patriot. His father wanted McCarthy to marry one of the Kennedy daughters. Was inviting McCarthy to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You couldn't have more of an anti-communist president in his heart. But then look at how JFK governed the Bay of Pigs and at the last minute redraws air cover from the Cubans allowing thousands of Cubans to be slaughtered and imprisoned. That leads into night into day the Cuban missile crisis, which he does negotiate his way out of.

But Castro would never have tried that with Richard Nixon. Democrats lead us to the brink of all out nuclear war, but we're supposed to be pleased -- but he presented a solid case to the U.N. Then of course, it was JFK started the Vietnam War but never fought it to win. So, this is a Democrat whose heart is in the right place, and still through incompetence leads to one foreign policy disaster after another.

KING: Temperance, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Ms. Coulter, I was wondering if in light to your support for George Bush and his war In Iraq, which is a gross violation of the U.N. Charter and then for article 6 paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the supremacy clause, I was wondering, do you still believe in the U.S. Constitution?

KING: And do you beat your boyfriend?

COULTER: I am reminded at this juncture that a lot of liberals and even prominent liberals like Al Gore have accused, you know, George Bush and John Ashcroft of tearing up the constitution and violating the constitution. We're in the middle of a civil liberties crisis in America. Wouldn't that be treasonist?

How come nobody yells at them when they say things like that. I right a book titled "Treason," everyone is all upset.

KING: Ann, thank you very much. Let us know when the deal is signed.

COULTER: Thank you.

KING: Ann Coulter, "New York Times" best selling author. The book is "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to War on Terrorism."

Her previous best seller was "Slander."

When we come back the host, Ryan Seacrest the of "American Idol." He has two new shows coming this fall. We'll talk about that and lots of other things, take your calls for Ryan, as well. Don't go away.


RYAN SEACREST, HOST "AMERICAN IDOL": I'm the strategically tousled hair and the Hollywood hair that is Ryan Seacrest. You can touch it, how does it feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not as hard as I thought it would be. SEACREST: You never want to hear that from a women do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the 50 most beautiful people.

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE "AMERICAN IDOL": I think all three of you being great, why don't we vote of Ryan Seacrest instead.



KING: It is my pleasure to introduce my bag carrier. Ryan Seacrest, the host of "American Idol" and "American Juniors", the host and executive producer Ryan Seacrest for "The Ride Home" a top rated week day afternoon talk show here in Los Angeles. He's also a correspondent for the "Tonight Show" and he's got another new show coming this fall. He's one of the hottest media figures in America and he helped carry my bags coming home from France on the same plane recently.

SEACREST, HOST "AMERICAN IDOL": You had 20 textbooks. What were you carrying...

KING: I read a lot.

SEACREST: Well apparently so.

KING: You offered to carry them...

SEACREST: Well, you know, Larry. You had all these bags and your wife went to the shops, I think, and brought even more bags back. And I felt terrible, because I had just a little backpack. And I said, let me carry one of those. The thing weighed more than me.

You know, what I was concerned about the most was, here are you and I walking through the airport and I have a bag that matches yours. And it's, wonder what those people are thinking -- Larry King and Ryan Seacrest on holiday together.

KING: Yes. Lida (ph) matched us up with a wife, yes, ok.

Ryan, what do you make of this -- by the way, you're a Californian. What do you make of Schwarzenegger?

SEACREST: It's interesting, we were talking about it on the radio show today, and the majority, it was like 80 percent plus of the callers were in favor. Were in favor.

KING: These are L.A. people, right?

SEACREST: These are L.A. These are Angelino's. These were people that liked the guy. That are excited about it. He's obviously a very likable person. I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen last night, but I'm growing to like him more and more and more. At first I was, "oh I don't know" but I think I'm growing into it.

KING: Let's find out more about you. First, what do you make of the success of Idol?

SEACREST: It's surreal. It is, obviously fantastic to be a part of a machine like that, that is "American Idol". I think that it continues to prove its validity in the star making business. At first it was a television show. It was a live television show, which is fantastic. It's interactive, but what does it really produce? And after you see the winner Kelly Clarkson of the first season, you realize this produces legitimate stars in music.

KING: How did you get the gig?

SEACREST: I had to audition. I had to walk in and do, like a scenario audition, where they would say -- and because I grew up in radio I was familiar with 12 seconds, you know, talking up an intro of a song. So they would say, "all right look, a contestant has just been beaten up by Simon Cowell, OK, he's the British judge of the show and he's not pleasant, and you have to transition from that make them feel good and get to the commercial break and tell them that we're going, you know, to be doing this next. Just go with it." I had to say, hey, I'm so sorry that happened, but you're going to get another shot tomorrow and we'll be right back with more "American Idol" and up next a rising star, I know it. Stand by.

So it was one of those things where they threw a scenario at you. You just had to do it and cross your finger and you always walk out of the room and you doubt yourself.

KING: Did you know it would do well?

SEACREST: I knew it would do well. I had no idea it would be as successful as it was.

KING: Gotten so successful. Here's what "Saturday Night Live" did to our guest. Watch.


JIMMY FALLON, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Paula, who do you think should be voted off tonight?

RACHEL DRATCH, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I don't think anyone should be voted off anything ever.

FALLON: Simon?

CHRIS PARNELL, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": All I have to say is that I hate you Ryan Seacrest and I hope you get SARS.

FALLON: Hope I get SARS. You going to give it to me, Simon? God, who peed in your Corn Flakes. I did.


SEACREST: Jimmy has got me down. It's scary how good he is at that.

KING: Are you going to remain on radio throughout this TV success?

SEACREST: I am. I love it. I love the immediacy of it. I love the spontaneity of it. I love the fact that every day you see something on TV that you have an opinion about and you want to talk about and the next day you can get on the air and do it.

KING: OK, now, what's the Juniors story? What's "American Juniors?"

SEACREST: "American Juniors" is a warmer show than "American Idol." It's not quite as brutally honest as the adult series, but it's a five-piece band that we're creating as opposed to a solo winner. These are kids ages 6 to 13 or 14 and that we have the finale coming up and the final one'll be voted into the group. And they're going to release a single that will come out on radio very soon after.

KING: Is this show a hit?

SEACREST: This show is not as big as "American Idol," but it's doing well. I think it's definitely fulfilling the expectation of the series and we wanted to put something out there that was fun and warmer than "American Idol."

KING: And tell me about the new thing. You're going to do a daily strip show?

SEACREST: Yes, strip. We have to sort of define that, don't we?

KING: What are you doing?

SEACREST: I am going to do a show that is everything entertainment, 5 days a week, live, for an hour, from the center of Hollywood. It will give you the entertainment news of the day, borrowing some of the aspects of 'Entertainment News" magazine. Taking some variety and a little bit of talk, but it's something that's going to be very exciting and I'll do that just before I "American Idol" live. So we'll do the "Daily Show Live" and then run down the street and do "American Idol."

KING: It's going to be syndicated?

SEACREST: It will be syndicated across the country, yes.

KING: Starting?

SEACREST: January. Same time we launch "American Idol 3".

KING: So wait a minute. You're going to do your radio show, what time is that on?

SEACREST: That's on -- well right now that on in the afternoon in Los Angeles.

KING: So you're going to do the radio.

SEACREST: You're going to figure out the schedule here huh? You're as good as my mother. You're good. There's not a lot of time. There's not a lot of time in between everything, but I really get excited about the synergies that I can create with all the television and the radio.

KING: This live show is going to be called what?

SEACREST: Haven't titled it yet because the title has something to do with the location and as soon as we nail down that location and finish that deal, we're going to announce the title.

KING: This is going to be a live feed.

SEACREST: A live feed.

KING: You'll feed it at what time -- what time will it be seen at America, 5:00?

SEACREST: 5:00. Later in the afternoon.

KING: So it's not going to be a half hour show like "Entertainment Tonight."

SEACREST: No. And it's not to compete with those shows. This is a show that will be difference. We hope that those other news magazines will embrace this type of show, but it will be definitely be an event. It will be live every day. I'm an executive producer and also the host.

KING: How do you like working with amateur contestants?

SEACREST: I love it. I love to see young people in this country identify their passion and pursue it and go after it. As opposed to sitting and waiting for something to happen, I love to see young people be proactive and go after it.

Our show is all about that. We discover talent across the country that is in most cases has never been to Hollywood and they get out here and they're overwhelmed but they're working every day to prove that they are a star.

KING: Why does does the critical aspect work? Why does Simon work?

SEACREST: Because its honest. I think, you know, in developing the new television show we want to have honesty in that show. There isn't always enough honesty and you can't have just Simon Cowell on "American Idol", you have to have a balance. I think that the dynamic between all three of those judges and certainly the dynamic between the interaction of the audience, which is a huge part of "American Idol", all of that adds up and equals the successful show that we now know as this big talent competition.

KING: We'll take a break and be back and include your phone calls for Ryan Seacrest, the host of "American Idol" and "American Juniors". He'll have his own show, an hour daily show, that will be seen starting in January and also hosts "Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home." A top rated weekday afternoon talk show on local radio here in Los Angeles. In fact, it's on radio station Star 98.7. They don't give call letters any more.

SEACREST: No, we used to write KYSR, that's the one. I've got a bunch of them memorized.

KING: From Syracuse.

SEACREST: Yes, there you go.

KING: We'll be right back with Ryan Seacrest right after this. Don't go away.


COWELL: You are on "American Idol". You know nothing about music.

SEACREST: Did you like it better in front of the camera or sort of behind the scenes?

COWELL: I still can't take these questions from you seriously about craving attention when its Ryan Seacrest asking the question.

SEACREST: This is Simon's bobblehead doll.

PAULA ABDUL, "AMERICAN IDOL": But he's not vain.

COWELL: Ryan Seacrest saying to me, I love the camera, OK.



JAY LENO, HOST "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Want to find someone who could blend in perfectly with those ruggedly hard core guys. You know, real men, men. Here he is right now, Ryan Seacrest. Ryan, here you are.

How are yes?

SEACREST: Mr. Leno, how are you? Hi, guys.

LENO: Before that I did a joke about you in the monologue. Are you dating Debbie Gibson?

SEACREST: We're not dating, we have the same manicurist. It's always a good first step you know.

LENO: What time is it?

Is that a watch or a bathroom scale?


KING: Are you wearing that now. SEACREST: I am wearing that now. It's not a bathroom scale it really is a watch.

KING: Let's show it to the camera, it's humongous.

SEACREST: It's the only thing big on my body.

KING: Trust me, it's big. Before we take calls, Ryan Seacrest before he was famous when he appeared on "Blind Date." Watch.

SEACREST: Look out.


SEACREST: I don't have a hair color, I don't have a type, it's really about a personality and a connection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. If a guy's hot he doesn't have a personality, it's not going to happen. One time I was on a trip and I got on the bar and started dancing and started to do a little strip show and the guy kicked me out because he was afraid I would hurt myself.


SEACREST: I can't really tell you anything as good as that story.

KING: What was with the glasses?

SEACREST: I was pretending to have a different look. Let's say I still haven't found the right woman.

KING: You're still single.

SEACREST: Yes, still single.

KING: Warren, Michigan as I go to calls for Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol", "American Juniors". Seacrest for the ride home. Seacrest everywhere.


CALLER: Have you been to any of the "American Idol" live concerts?

SEACREST: I have been. I have not been this time around. Have you?

CALLER: Yes. I've actually been to three of them and they're awesome.

SEACREST: Yes they're are a lot fun. Who was your favorite contestant on the show?

CALLER: Clay. SEACREST: Clay Aiken.

KING: Do you go to -- they are doing try outs now.

SEACREST: We're doing auditions right now.

KING: You go to those?

SEACREST: Yes. We do go to those. I was just at the Rose Bowl and thousands of people lined up to do this all over again. I think that one interesting point and about this next season we're going to see people who may have been cynical about a talent show on TV creating music stars show up this time. I think that's going to be key because we'll find a lot of very talented people along the way.

KING: Baltimore, Maryland for Ryan Seacrest, hello.

SEACREST: Hi, there.

CALLER: Hello. Hi. I want to go into radio. I've done some acting. I have had a little radio experience in college. Could you give me some advice for someone who, I guess, is starting from the bottom.

KING: He's got some good advice. We have been talking about it before we went on.

SEACREST: We were, and I think we both agree, get in the door.

KING: Anywhere.

SEACREST: Do anything anywhere and, you know, build from within. That's what I did. I worked for free at a radio station. I was excited to drive the van to get coffee. And I remembered everyone's name and what they did and strategically -- really strategically worked my way up through the reigns of the radio world.

KING: Were you a radio freak as a kid?

SEACREST: Crazy. Crazy. I would sit in my bedroom and pretend I was Casey Kasem. I would sit and countdown hits in my bedroom.

KING: I did the same thing. Pretend I was an announcer.

SEACREST: Yes. But I was kind of embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to know about it. And I have those tapes somewhere. But I loved it from when I was young.

KING: Phoenix, Arizona, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Were there any contestants that you wanted to date?

No names, but were there any that you were interested in.

SEACREST: We could eliminate the two finalists on season two. There are definitely attractive contestants along the way. Some of the women we see across the country are in there 20's, very talented and attractive and driven, but that's against the rules. I try to stay away with that.

KING: Do you agree with selections...

SEACREST: With selections of the...

KING: Winners.

SEACREST: Yes, this was a very tight race. The American public is extremely savvy when it comes to the real deal. We are well read and well studied in the entertainment business. And people have their opinion and what's great about it they all become a judge on "American Idol".

KING: You can't phony this. I can't set up millions of...

SEACREST: You can't set that up.

KING: Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Ryan. I love "American Idol." I wanted Clay to win, who are you rooting for?

SEACREST: I like both those guys. And I know it sounds like a cop out. It was such a tight race at the end of season two, could have been anybody's win. I think Reuben is deserving but what I liked about what happened out of season two of "American Idol," is that both of these guys have become very successful. Released singles on the top of the charts and are both releasing albums.

KING: Marina Valley, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Ryan. I was wondering if you and Simon really get along or is that just an act?

SEACREST: What a loaded question...

KING: Answer it honestly. You're going to do an honest show.

SEACREST: OK. Let's be honest here. At first I really was turned off by that pompous figure we know now as, Simon Cowell. We have grown to be friends and because we are friends we can say anything we want to each other and there is really no line to cross. Anything is open game between he and I on the show.

KING: You like him.

SEACREST: We do like each other.

KING: Annapolis, Maryland. Hello.



CALLER: I wanted to ask if you know there's going to be an "American Juniors" two.

SEACREST: They are planning an "American Juniors" two. Yes. How old are you?

CALLER: I'm 12.

SEACREST: So, you wouldn't want to be part of this group?

CALLER: Yes, I would very much.

SEACREST: 12 years old and has the poised and courage to call in and stand up if they make the show and perform and be judged every week by America.

KING: London, Ontario.

CALLER: Hi Ryan, how are you doing.

SEACREST: Great, thanks for calling.

CALLER: I just wanted to ask you, since you're so busy, what do you do for fun? And do you know what Kimberley Locke is doing right now, because I really liked her. I think should have won.

SEACREST: She's great, isn't she?

I think you will see some great things from Kimberly very soon. In terms of what I do, I holiday with Larry King.

KING: We both go to south of France.

SEACREST: We both went to the south of France to take a break. I love good food and I collect wine. I slow it down. I'm pretty amped and hyper when I'm working. I really slow it down and become rather placid when I take my time out.

KING: We'll be back with more moments and more phone calls for Ryan Seacrest. Don't go away.


SEACREST: After 24 million votes the winner of "American Idol 2003" is Reuben Studdard.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEACREST: Welcome to the show. You have made a television phenomenon.

JACKSON: What are you saying, baby?

SEACREST: What did I discover during the commercial break for you?


SEACREST: Oh, come on. Tell us. Her fly was undone.

We've got to do it. That's the way the show works.

Debbie (ph) is telling me to stretch. We must have plenty of time tonight, huh? Well then, let me spell the word vote. It's v-o- t-e.


KING: One of our crack (ph) producers told me to ask you about metrosexuals. Now I'm asking you about something I have no idea what I'm asking.

SEACREST: Metrosexual -- you don't read those articles?

KING: These are people who dress up like they were gay but they're not gay?

SEACREST: I guess something -- it's something like that. I think it's people who are very comfortable with their feminine side and, you know -- sometimes I am maybe too open and too honest about what I do. I've talked about my hair and I've talked about the massage that I like to get every once in awhile, which where like to get once in a while, which is just at a spa and all these things I've learned through women that I've dated but...

KING: But you're not a metrosexual?

SEACREST: I don't think -- I don't think I really am. I'd have to really look that up too...

KING: Me too, because I don't ...

SEACREST: I don't know, but you in that pink and those colors, Larry, I'm not quite sure.

KING: Kent, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.


CALLER: I -- first of all, Ryan, how is this for poise and courage? Larry, I thought the way you treated Ann Coulter was an absolute disgrace and I was wondering if you were going to take Arnold to the wall with tough question or phone in your interview like...

KING: I don't know what you...

SEACREST: Oh, there she goes.

KING: The way I treated was a -- I don't know what that means.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Do you prefer doing "American Juniors" or "American Idol"?

SEACREST: Which one do you like the best?

CALLER: I like the "American Juniors."

SEACREST: That's the one I love to do.

KING: How old are you, dear?


SEACREST: Well, that is so great. Thank you for watching both of those shows. They're a lot of fun to do, and I'm really quite frankly happy to have those jobs.

KING: San Francisco, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry and hi, Ryan.

I have a question for you, Ryan. Did you know that they show "American Idol" in Singapore and that you're hugely popular there?

SEACREST: I didn't know I was hugely popular, but I did know that they aired the show in other countries and that's fantastic.

KING: Seen now live everywhere in the world.

SEACREST: It's great.

KING: It's crazy, isn't it?

SEACREST: It is crazy. It really is. I mean, you're...

KING: Communications.

SEACREST: Well, you're used to people knowing who you are. This is all very new to me. You know, when we travel through the airport I figure that people -- I mean, I -- they're are all pointing and looking at you saying, that's Larry King -- and then you hear somebody says that's Ryan Seacrest with Larry King and I think, Oh my God. That's right.

KING: Are you getting to like it?

SEACREST: I think you'd rather -- you get into this business -- I'm not going to lie -- because you want people to see what you're doing and you want to be known.

KING: But at times you like a little anonmymity.

SEACREST: Every now and then, but I always take the time. I really do. I always -- I was on a plane last night and I always appreciate every -- at this point, still, every single person.

And I notice that you did the same thing. You signed autographs in the airport.

KING: Oh, I like people.


KING: You got an AT&T deal?

SEACREST: Yes. We just did this AT&T deal where I'm going to do a series of things for them on television and print and on the radio.

KING: Spokesman?

SEACREST: Yes, spokesperson deal.

KING: For what aspect? Long distance?

SEACREST: The text messaging. You know, this has become huge with the younger demographics in America and it was a big part of "American Idol."

KING: You're about to be a mogul. You're an industry.

SEACREST: Right, so it's mogul -- metrosexual -- all right.

KING: Keep mogul.

SEACREST: The adoration is killing me. Mogul. Got it.

KING: Portland, Oregon, hello.



CALLER: First of all, I'd like to say I think "American Idol" is wonderful. Thirty years ago, when I was singing I had to lug my guitar everywhere with my partner and I just think it's a wonderful venue. My question is -- was about Kimberly Locke also. But elaborate a little bit. Has she gotten a recording contract?

SEACREST: You know, I don't have the specifics of a deal in terms of Kimberly Locke. I know that she had a huge following and obviously being on that show for as many weeks as she was on, she's developed a fan base. And that's -- that really is half the battle, isn't it? I mean, when you come out of a show and already have a built-in fan base, like yourself for Kimberly, you want to get product out there because you have people that you know will go buy your record and support you. And again, another wonderful thing and positive about that television series.

KING: Atlanta, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Ryan. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever said or asked you?

SEACREST: The weirdest thing has ever said or ever asked me?

I don't get too many weird things. I don't even know if I have an answer for that. They're usually pretty nice. Fortunately, they're not too negative and...

KING: You began in Atlanta.

SEACREST: Atlanta is my hometown.

KING: That's where you were born?

SEACREST: I was born and raised in Atlanta. My first radio job was at WSTR, Star 94 in Atlanta.

KING: What was your first thing on the air?

SEACREST: First thing on the air was the night when the disc jockey I was supposed to get coffee for didn't show up and I -- it was a Sunday night and I knew the program director, the boss was out of town, and I decided to break open the mike and I just did it and I got what they call hotlined. The program director called me and he said, I'm coming home from the airport. What are you doing?

And I thought, This is it. I'm done. I came in the next day and he said, You know, I liked the fact that you took a chance. I'm going to work with you and I'm going to teach you how to do this.

KING: Smart guy.

SEACREST: And it worked out. But you know, you have to take chances. You have to take risks. You have to be smart about it. And I've always approached this business with a strategy. I believe that, you know, -- you know, people who are much more successful than I, superstars in this business, it's not by chance. I think it's part of who they are from when they were very young and most of them have strategized to get them to the place where they are today. They may not all be as talented as the other, but they really have a special kind of drive and persistence.

KING: Yes. All of them.

SEACREST: All of them

KING: You're on your way, man.

SEACREST: Thanks. Good to see you.

KING: Ryan Seacrest, the host -- pick up my bags and get out of here. Ryan... SEACREST: Not the heavy one again!

KING: Ryan Seacrest, the host of "American Idol" and "American Juniors," the radio show "Ryan Seacrest For the Ride Home" and the still unnamed new show coming this fall. We'll be back in a moment to tell you about tomorrow night.

Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, young Mattie Stepanek joins the panel. We're going to talk about angels, whether they're around or not. And Saturday night, Kevin Costner. Sunday night we'll repeat our interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger.


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