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Interviews with Barbara Walters, Gary Barnett

Aired February 19, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight Barbara Walters. What's next for this true TV legend now that's she's announced that she's leaving ABC's "20/20" after 25 years as co-host.
But first exclusive, University of Colorado football coach, Gary Barnett suspended over remarks about a former female player who said she was rapped by a teammate. He's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: We are going to spend our opening moments with coach Barnett, and then we'll meet Barbara Walters.

Before we start Coach, lets take a look the remarks that started it all. We should let our audience know that the captions you'll see at the beginning of the tape are the transcript of the reporters questions to the coach, watch.


QUESTION: Coach, just to clarify, you say most of your players did not want Katie on the team and why was that?

GARY BARNETT, FOOTBALL COACH, U. OF COLORADO: Just new, different -- it's just -- you know, it's a guy sports and they felt like Katie was forced on them.

QUESTION: Was it a question of her ability?

BARNETT: Well, it was obvious that Katie was not that good, she was awful, OK. And so, guys -- you know what, guys do they respect your ability. You could 90-years-old, but you can go out and play they respect you. Well, Katie was a girl, and not only was she was a girl, she was terrible. OK, and there is no other way to say it, she couldn't kick the ball through the uprights. She took reps instead of players who were much better than her because we were giving her an opportunity. We stated with Katie hoping she could get better, and she did get a little bit better. But she was immediately not of the caliber that could play at this level and it very, very obvious.


KING: Coach thanks for joining us. What everyone is saying is what did that have to do with her charges with being raped, what kind of player she was.

BARNETT: Well, let me say first, Larry, I'm speaking on my behalf. I don't represent the University of Colorado, the athletic department or our football team. As someone described today, I think I said the wrong thing, the wrong way, and at the wrong time. We were in a briefing. We were trying to express our concern for Katie over the allegation of her experience in our football program. And I was trying to communicate that we cared about Katie. That we were going to go to any extent that we could to help her achieve her dream of being a college football kicker. And that was my intent. No matter what her ability was, we were trying to find a way to make sure she had a chance to do this. And you know, I've always -- I've always cared about our players, every player. I care about Katie, and I've always stood behind our players, and I'm standing behind Katie now.

KING: But you can see coach, how it looked. It looked like here's a girl saying she's been raped and here's a coach saying she wasn't a good player. I mean, it looked terrible.

BARNETT: I understand how it looked. And I really do. And that's why I said I said the wrong thing. And I took a question that maybe I shouldn't have taken. I should have cut my conversation off sooner. As I said, we were there to express our concern for Katie. And I was trying to express my care for her in that no matter what her ability level was we were going to try to keep her around an so...

KING: What do you make, coach, of these other charges?

Six other women have apparently made charges about being accosted at the university. A woman quoted yesterday in a police report that she'd been assaulted by a player coached by you just a couple years ago.

BARNETT: Well, I've -- you know, some of those things I can't really talk to, Larry, just because of legal issues about it. When I came to Colorado in 1999, I made a decision to change the culture there, around academics and around recruiting. I introduced a 124- page manual that talked about behavioral and character expectations including but not totally -- or not completely sexual harassment, alcohol abuse, and specifically date rape. You know, we brought in speakers nationally known speakers on sexual harassment, diversity. We bring in every night during our summer camp for three weeks from 9:00 till 10:00 at night, we go through every single section of that book with our players. And so we brought in a ought -- we bring in the university police...

KING: So what do you gather happened, then?

What happened wrong at Colorado?

BARNETT: Well, I don't know that at this point in time you can say anything has gone wrong. I think that there are a lot of allegations at this date. There's yet to be anything proven. There's yet to be any charges brought. And my point that I was trying to make was that you know, we'd done a lot. In 2001 we had some serious allegations. And although there were never any serious charges brought, we took another step to continue to impress upon our young guys that discipline and the character building that's needed. We changed our recruiting. We have a 1:00 curfew on our players now. When you visit our campus as an athlete, you're in the hotel room checked in by a staffer at 1:00 and that's unusual in a college situation.

KING: Do you think you're being treated unfairly?

BARNETT: You know, I don't know what to say to that, Larry. I just know that the way that it's coming across nationally, I just don't think that's who I am. I think that we have done a great deal, we've always acted swiftly to punish our players when they haven't done things the right way. We've done -- we've had numerous exercises and programs to enhance and improve and teach character. You know, right now in this culture that we're in we get kids that come to us that have already been exposed to a wilder side of life than you or I ever saw. So we have almost a responsibility to get them through that and to get them out in the real world, and it's difficult today in this particular climate.

KING: I hope to do more time with you. Do you plan -- do you want to stay at Colorado?

BARNETT: I do want to stay at Colorado.

KING: Do you expect to be reinstated?

BARNETT: I expect to be reinstated. I do.

KING: Thanks, Gary. We'll talk again.

BARNETT: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Coach Gary Barnett, the head football coach at the University of Colorado. Lots more to say on this, is and we'll be doing lots more about it.

And when we come back, one of our favorite people on the planet, Barbara Walters. She's next. Don't go away.


KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Barbara Walters to these cameras. She improves the setting immensely. She leaves ABC News "20/20" after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent. She'll continue to do interview specials, including her annual Oscar show. We're going to talk about that in a while. That comes on right before the Oscar and then after the Oscar on the West Coast. She's creative co-host and executive producer of ABC TV daytime's "The View." All right. Everyone's talking about it. We're glad you're here.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Well, first of all, I don't leave 20/20 until September. So I have a little way to go.

KING: Why are you leaving in September?

WALTERS: Because I will -- I mean, this gets a little technical. Because I will then have had another year -- I've said that I would leave with a year and a half to go in my contract. Okay?

KING: Leave 20/20 or leave ABC?

WALTERS: Oh, no, no, no. I'm leaving 20/20. I will do at least five specials a year. Two of which i've been doing for years and years. "10 Most Fascinating People" and "Academy Awards." This will be our 22nd Academy Award special...

KING: So you had intended to leave in a year and a half?

WALTERS: My contract was up in a year and a half. And you are looking at a very happy woman, because I've thought about this for a while. You know, it isn't that something happened and I said I'm going to leave. You know, for 25 years I've been doing this. I've interviewed -- I mean, I feel I'm talking to you, we have so many of the same experiences. Every president and first lady since Richard Nixon. Everyone from Saddam Hussein even and Gadhafi and Putin and actors and actresses.

And I just felt it's a daily grind even though it's a once a week magazine show, because you're editing, you're writing, you're traveling, you're putting together a magazine piece, and I just wanted time to do what I want to do now, to pick the specials that I want to do and not have to do every single week.

And there are other things. I will keep doing "The View." To me that's a dream. I love those women. The specials will give me the opportunity to keep doing newsmakers and so forth. I will write a book. I haven't written a book in 32 years. Unlike, you know, you with your wonderful books. I will finally I think sit down and do an autobiography.

And I will have time. I can -- I can see friends, I can see more of my daughter. I've been working, I mean, it's amazing that I'm only 46 years old and I've been working almost 40 years. I was a child star.

KING: You knew there would be talk that because we all age, when you age they push you out. And that was...

WALTERS: But you know what, there wasn't talk. You see, if I had done it next year, for example, then they would have said, oh, they didn't want to renew her contract. But I am leaving early. We are all, I can't say concerned about "20/20," because it's a wonderful, wonderful show. But it will be a different program.

I mean, for example, tomorrow night they're doing women, sex, and satisfaction. It is a very controversial show. Female Viagra, sex clinics for women. So it will be more, I would think, of an ensemble show. But I didn't read one thing that said they were pushing me out.

KING: No, but the industry buzz was saying. You knew that would happen.

WALTERS: I didn't even hear that -- no I didn't hear it, Larry. I mean, I did it in a very careful way. I told one -- I told nobody until it happened. No one except for David Westin. No one, not even my wonderful executive producer, David Sloan of "20/20" no one. I told Bill Carter, who was the...

KING: "New York Times."

WALTERS: ...superb "New York Times" reporter for television. He was the only one I told. It was a huge article that said just what it was.

And you know, I would tell you pretty much the truth, almost all the truth, because you and I have known each other so long. But I didn't hear any buzz. What I heard was I heard from people all over the world, from the foreign minister of Israel to almost every woman in the business saying, you know, we understand or we'll miss you. I didn't hear any buzz.

KING: You call it...

WALTERS: There's no backstory.

KING: You call it a daily grind. Are you going to miss, though, that aspect, that a big story's breaking and "20/20's" doing it Friday, and Barbara ain't there? For example, you're not there at the election.

WALTERS: Well, that's okay. I mean, that's...

KING: It's okay?

WALTERS: Yes. I'll tell you, I've -- you know that I have a very close friend named Beverly Sills who is one of the great sopranos in opera. And this is a story that I do like to tell, because it sums up the way I feel. When she left the metropolitan opera and she stopped singing, her husband gave her a ring. I should have brought it. And it had an inscription. And years later she gave me that ring and she said, just remember this. and the ring says, I did that already.

So sure, there will be things that I will miss. I just did an interview with Elton John that's going to run in March. And I loved it. It was a wonderful interview. And I thought, well, I probably won't be doing this anymore. That's okay. I did that already.

Sure, I'll miss it sometimes. But I will have freedom, I'll have specials, I'll have -- I've worked my whole life. How wonderful not to have that every single week. Now, you're just a kid, you see, so you don't understand this.

KING: So you feel free.

WALTERS: I feel free. I feel happy. People say to me, oh, you look so great. And I think it's because I have a lot of weight off my shoulders. I've thought about this for a long time.

KING: Does this mean, then, you'll have to do a whole new contract? If this contract takes "20/20" out, are we doing a whole new deal for the specials?

WALTERS: I don't -- I think it has to be -- well, we haven't gotten into that yet. I think it probably has to be an extension and it would be somewhat different, because I will be leaving a -- leaving "20/20."

But "The View" is a separate thing. That's all by itself. So that doesn't get touched. I already do a certain number of specials. I probably did five of them last year without...

KING: They're going to have to rewrite something, because you're contracted to do "20/20," right?

WALTERS: They'll have to rewrite something.

KING: Are you going to suggest a replacement?

WALTERS: It's not up to me to decide what happens. I don't think -- my feeling is there will not be one replacement. I mean, John Stossel is there. He's wonderful. Elizabeth Vargas works on the program all the time. Chris Cuomo. I'm thinking of some of the people who have pieces on...

KING: You mean there will be rotating hosts? That usually doesn't work.

WALTERS: No, no, no. We've done this before. Like I'm telling you tomorrow night's show is an ensemble show, I have a piece, John Stossel, Juju Chang, Debra Roberts does. These are our correspondents.

And I'm not sure it will be rotating. I think it may be ensemble shows. It may be shows that have one theme the way tomorrow night does. We did something a few weeks ago where I did Donald Trump and his children, We did an hour on nepotism. There may be more themes as there are on some other programs programs.

So I -- "20/20" is a household name, and although I would love to feel "20/20" and Barbara Walters are one, the program will go on. Look, "Good Morning America" is so superb with Diane. There will come a day when Diane perhaps I hope years and years from now, may say she wants to step down, or Charlie Gibson. It will go on. "The Today Show" I did it for 13 years. It's still on.

KING: Do you still get bugged at the stories of the rivalry with Diane?

WALTERS: Oh, you know, I thought is Larry going to ask me that? It is such...

KING: No, I'm asking you if you still get bugged by it. I didn't ask you...

WALTERS: But it's the same question.

KING: Oh, don't be a smart-ass. Just because you know interviewing.

WALTERS: You said he's going to ask me that. I don't want to gush over Diane because that would sound false, but she works so hard and she is so good. And she does her thing, and I do my thing, and it's very rare that we really, you know, have to compete. You and I compete, for heaven's sakes.

KING: But we don't work at the same place.

WALTERS: Well, if anything, maybe we have it a little easier because we don't always go after the same thing. We do have a kind of understanding you do that, and I'll do this?

KING: Those moments when you're going after the same person, are they difficult, though?

WALTERS: They're difficult with everybody. But again, because we do share things, I mean, we're on the same floor, my office is here, her office is here. We talk -- you know, most of our conversations are you think you're tired, let me tell you what I have done.

So it's been very real. These are you say do people still bug you? But I don't think you can mention a time when we've really -- when we've really clashed. By the way, if it were not two women, again, I hate to raise that flag...

KING: True. If it were a man it wouldn't be mentioned or two men it wouldn't be mentioned.

WALTERS: No. So here we are.

KING: Barbara Walters is our guest. She's a delight and an old friend. She has her specials coming. We'll be talking about that. As we go to break, though, here's a clip of her with the Trumps. Watch.


WALTERS: So I sit here for the family portrait. You all look very normal. How do you do it? How do you raise these kids in the life that you've led, a public life, all this money? How did you keep them from being the most awful, spoiled brats? Or are they?

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ENTERPRISES: Well, they are spoiled brats. There's no question about that. But you know, they're basically good kids. And they've done very well. I've never been embarrassed by my children.

WALTERS: But you can't possibly live in this penthouse and have Donald Trump for a father and be your normal kid. Are you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's -- you know, it's a difficult thing to navigate, and over time you're just sort of -- you learn to accept it. And you know, he's raised us with values and tries to keep us as grounded as possible.




WALTERS: Eighth time.


WALTERS: Is this a very hard show to do?

CRYSTAL: For me, it's very hard. Right through till I say good night from the time I say yes, I have a headache.


KING: How did these specials start back 22 years ago.

WALTERS: Well, I should point out that this is Billy Crystal, whom we have on this special. I interviewed him 14 years ago. And we have Billy Crystal, Diane Keaton, whom I adore. The most wonderful interview. Tells you everything. And then just earlier today, this is why I'm here in Los Angeles, I interviewed Matt LeBlanc from "Friends."

KING: Great guy.

WALTERS: And dear and funny and touching...

KING: And then our mystery guest.

WALTERS: And then our mystery guest whom we both know, who has a relationship to you. But I cannot tell you.

KING: That's all we'll say. The mystery guest will flip you and he has a relationship to me.

WALTERS: There we go.

KING: How did these shows come about?

WALTERS: We started them, I can't believe it, 22 years ago, for Academy Award night. And in the beginning the academy would not let us interview anybody who was up for an Academy award.

KING: They have control over that?

WALTERS: Oh, yes. They did then. I mean, they do -- they tell you what clips you can use and not use. But then as time went on we were able to use people from the academy who were nominated. So what we tried to do is to have somebody who's nominated, in this case Diane Keaton for best actress for "Something's Gotta Give," a movie I just adored. And then, of course, Billy Crystal, who was so wonderful. I mean, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and Billy Crystal. I mean, these were the people who made the Academy awards. I don't want to neglect the others...

KING: Those were the three...

WALTERS: They were the three and this man does 150 push-ups before he goes on that night, talks to about all of that. The low points, the high points. We did it from the Kodak Theater. So that's great fun. And then we wanted somebody who was not part of, you know, the academy scene, and that's why -- when they're not talking about Academy awards, what's everybody talking about this year?

That "Friends" is ending. So Matt LeBlanc. And he's just had a baby girl. And people don't know him very well. They don't know anything about him. When he started to do friends, he had $11 in his pocket. If that had not happened, what would he be doing? There it is. There's the baby.

KING: East coast, give me the play times.

WALTERS: What happens is that we're on preceding the Academy awards in the east. So that you will not know whether Diane Keaton has won or not. And we follow them in the west coast. But the program has so much in it that whether they win or not yes, it makes it a little more exciting...

KING: And you all watch it at the "Vanity Fair" party after the awards. Will you be there? Come on.

WALTERS: I don't think so.

KING: Really?

WALTERS: In part because I have to go back to New York and finish this special. We're not done with it. We just did Matt LeBlanc today. And then I have to, you know, put it together and do the voice-over and so forth. So it's very hard for me to do that and then to go to the parties.

KING: Do they always do well?

WALTERS: They do extremely...

KING: They've become part of the culture.

WALTERS: Yes. Every year I say you know what, we've done everybody. Don't you feel sometimes that way? We've done everybody. And then there's always someone new and there's always someone young. So 22 years is a long time for us to be doing this, and this is something that I will continue to do after I have stopped, even after I've stopped doing...

KING: So in other words, you'll be doing this -- as long as you can walk, you're going to be doing Academy awards specials?

WALTERS: Well, what would be wrong with me doing it in my walker or wheelchair?

KING: Why can't you do it from your wheelchair? Why can't you do it from the nursing home? You bring the people to the home...

WALTERS: I don't know. Maybe I'll draw the line there.

KING: By the way, do you ever expect to give it up?

WALTERS: Oh, sure.

KING: You do?

WALTERS: Oh, yes, Larry, people said I'd never leave "20/20," they'd carry me out feet first. I have a very, fortunately, a very happy and healthy private life. And I do like to be with friends and I would like to take some trips that aren't just for business. And I would like to have some freedom in my life, which I can never remember when I haven't been working always.

It isn't as if I did a show and took a few years off and then somebody gave me -- and then I had another show. I've never stopped. I went from doing the "Today Show." I came to ABC, had that difficult period as the first female co-host of a network news program. Then there was "20/20" and you know, all the interviews. Sure. And I will stop completely one of these days. Totally.

KING: Are you making a statement going to the Martha Stewart trial first day? Were you saying I am her friend?

WALTERS: No, I'm not Martha Stewart's friend. It would be very difficult for me to have done the interview with her if we were personal friends. We know each other. And...

KING: Same here. We do the...

WALTERS: Exactly. Only two interviews she did were mine and yours. That happens to us a lot. I did Hillary Clinton first. You did her second...

KING: Second.

WALTERS: And I thought your interview was terrific. You asked some questions that I forgot. I thought you were wonderful. I went, because I was curious, it was the opening day statements. It was the first day that the prosecution, obviously, and the defense were giving their opening statements. And I had a kind of funny experience because I was sitting with the reporters, and our on-the-air reporter, Chris Cuomo said come sit on the other side because you can see the jury. What do I know? I don't go to court that much. So I sat on the other side. I could see the jury's faces. And then I read that I was on the side, you know, it's like being are you on the side of the bride or the groom? I was on Martha Stewart's side, and people said you went as a friend.

KING: You did not?

WALTERS: I did not. I think what is happening to her, I do think for this woman who has accomplished so much this is such a difficult and heartbreaking time. But if she had been a close personal friend I would not have been able to do the interview with her. I would not have been able to say to her as I did, Martha, why do so many people hate you? You can't say that to a friend.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll go to your phone calls for Barbara Walters. And as we go to break, here's more of Barbara and Billy Crystal.


WALTERS: You've had some sadness in your life the last couple of years, too. Your mom passed away. Which of your accomplishments was she most proud of?

CRYSTAL: My marriage and my kids.

WALTERS: Really?


WALTERS: Did you make her laugh?

CRYSTAL: Oh, yes. We all did. My brothers and I -- she was our audience. You know, my dad died when I was 15. So she held us together. So it threw me into the hardest period and the saddest and darkest time that I can remember. Didn't feel funny. You just sort of lose that -- what's funny now? What's possibly funny now?

WALTERS: What got you back, Billy?

CRYSTAL: This baby.

WALTERS: The grandchild. Knowing that there's new life and new fun and new...

CRYSTAL: It's the first time that there's a lot of hope. Darn. I didn't want this to happen.

WALTERS: Do you know your wife, just before we sat down, Janice came out here...

CRYSTAL: And said there's no crying in baseball.

WALTER: And said there's no crying in baseball.

CRYSTAL: Nothing's dripping but, you know...

WALTER: Well, if you're going to cry, it's a very sweet thing to cry.




WALTERS: Is this the worst time of your life? MARTHA STEWART, CEO: Well, I thought a divorce was the worst time of my life. This is far worse.


KING: Barbara Walters is our guest. Her Academy Award special is on the East Coast, they air the hour before the awards begin. On the West Coast they air immediately following the Academy Awards.

WALTERS: 7:00 -- 7:00 to 8:00 Eastern and whatever time the Academy Awards are over...

KING: Which could be anytime.

Whatever. Breakfast.

KING: In the west. She winds up at "20/20" in September. Is ABC planning something to your knowledge?

WALTERS: Oh, I don't know. It's not a sad event.

KING: But come on, you're an institution.

WALTERS: We're doing a 25th -- I guess 25th on 20. We're doing a two-hour special in May just of the things that I've done on "20/20," having nothing to do with the specials. I mean, when I went through the list, it seems to me there was not a murderer or an alleged murderer that I hadn't done. You know, all the politicians, all the different movie stars, all of the human interest stories, which are the ones I like the most. It was quite a list.

KING: Before we take calls, what do you make of these stories about shows on networks that use -- we'll give you an entertainment special if you give us the -- the quid pro quo.

WALTERS: The whole business is changing. It makes it much more difficult. The toughest part of what you and I do is not the interview, it's the booking.

Isn't that true?

KING: Absolutely.

WALTERS: And you now have sort of package deals, I'll give you, you know, three programs on here and then you can do a prime time program there. Those I think are OK. But when it starts to be -- you know, we'll put your special on in return for our getting an interview, I think that gets very scary. But there's so much about television now, Larry, that has changed and...


KING: What don't You like that. You don't like that, what else?

WALTERS: Well, I don't want to talk about what I don't like about television because it has been so good to me. I've had such a blessed life.

KING: What do you make of reality shows?

WALTERS: Well, for example, I'm not a big reality show watcher, but I got hooked because I was interviewing Donald Trump and his children. Talk about being rich. Those children, I said this to Donald, those are his riches. Well, I watched "The Apprentice," I got hooked. But in general, you know, I'm not a reality show -- and they go on and on and on. See, I think of magazine show. I think -- I mean, to me that's a reality show.

KING: It is.


KING: Are we borderline tabloid a lot?

WALTERS: Aren't you?

KING: Yes, of course.

Isn't that what people talk about?

WALTERS: Yes, and then you hope to balance it. Then you hope to do -- for example, I plan in April, I think, to go to Jordan to do an interview with King Abdullah of Jordan and his exquisite Queen Rania.

KING: They're both great.

WALTERS: I've interviewed them before. But they're a very special couple at a time in the Middle East that's so dangerous. Now, I don't know how many -- I mean, I would have -- would people rather see Janet Jackson than see King Abdullah?

KING: The answer is yes.

WALTERS: Yes. But for my own integrity or for the people who might find some of that interesting, you must do some of that. At least I must do some of that.

KING: We do the Peterson trial one night, and then next Thursday I moderate the debate among the Democratic candidates. You have to do both. It's the nature of the game.

WALTERS: And it's getting tougher and tougher. And for all of these different reasons, when people say, well, why did you decide to leave?

You know, it's why I'm smiling. I mean, I did that already. And now I want to do something else.

KING: Something I wanted to ask and you then we'll go to calls.

What started the making people cry thing?

Did someone cry one day and... WALTERS: Good lord. I don't know. I mean, it's like the whole thing with Katharine Hepburn, when people say did I say to her what kind of a tree are you, when she really said -- she said, I'm like a tree. I don't know, but I almost never watch an interview that somebody else does in which the person isn't crying. You know, you ask -- if you ask somebody about their childhood or in this case, Billy Crystal talks about his mother passing...

KING: But how -- did it start with you?

WALTERS: I don't know. Maybe I was -- I did more interviews than anybody and for a while. Because I was doing so many specials and doing so many movie stars, and people were not used to seeing them being that vulnerable that I got that reputation. Now if somebody cries, I mean, fortunately Diane Keaton did not cry, Matt LeBlanc did not cry, don't you dare cry.

KING: The other -- and the other guest, the surprise guest...

WALTERS: And the surprise guest did not cry.

KING: Thank. Whew. If he cried, it would destroy me. Anyway, let's take some calls for Barbara Walters.

Vancouver, Washington. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Barbara.

My question is who has been your favorite celebrity interview?

WALTERS: You know, these are the toughest questions for me to answer, because I can never tell you what my favorite celebrity. I've done so many between the specials and "20/20." And you -- the interesting thing about celebrity interviews, which you know, too, Larry, is that you're able to get to know them and ask them questions that you could never probably ask in years.

KING: Of course.

WALTERS: So that I feel very close to many of them. I loved, I have to tell you, I loved doing Diane Keaton.

KING: We're going to show a little clip from that in a minute.

WALTERS: She is so -- you know you have so many celebrities who say I won't discuss my personal life?

She -- you know, she says that no man ever proposed to her, she's never been in love. I mean, she's so open and funny and wonderful. So at the moment she's one of the favorites.

KING: We did a precious night with her and Walter Matthau once.

WALTERS: They must have been hilarious.

KING: It was Matthau's last interview. WALTERS: My dear.

KING: Boston, hello.

WALTERS: My home town.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: I have a question for Barbara. Of all the celebrities who you've interviewed, who haven't that you would like to?

WALTERS: Who haven't that you would like to?

Well, you know, there are always new people coming up that you can't imagine. I think, you know, we all would like to do probably -- let's see, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. Are they celebrities? I guess they are.

KING: I'd like to do the pope.

WALTERS: We all want to do the pope. I don't think either one of us are going to be doing the pope. You know, you want to do the ones that are the most difficult.

KING: Over the years is there someone you didn't get you always wanted?

WALTERS: I think we all wanted to interview Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but it didn't surprise me that she did not do an interview. I think John Kerry's wife is a very interesting and brilliant woman, I would like to talk with her. I've met her. She is a fascinating woman. I think she'd be interesting. You know, right now politicians are celebrities, celebrities are politicians.

KING: In that vain what do you think happened to Howard Dean?

WALTERS: Isn't it interesting, but that is what makes -- that's what makes life so exciting. That there's no such thing as a sure thing, you know. And then you have to think, what does he do next, and what happens when you -- the toughest thing to face, and you and I have been fortunate because we lead normal lives. People may not think so, but we do. But the toughest thing to face is when you're very famous and then it's over.

KING: The cheering stops.

What do you do when the cheering stops?

WALTERS: You've got to have a life. You've got to have some...

KING: You know who faces it, former athletes, former presidents.

WALTERS: Former presidents. Every once in a while, and -- the Bush people, when you talk to them, they're very nice people, but every once in a while in the past if I'd call somebody at the White House and they were very rude, I used to think, you'll be calling me in four years.

You know what else keeps me sane, and I know it does with you, my daughter.

KING: Children. Hey.

WALTERS: Children. Hey.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Barbara Walters.

As we go to break, here is Barbara with Diane Keaton talking about Jack Nicholson.


WALTERS: This isn't the first time that you've worked with Jack Nicholson. You worked with him years and years ago.


WALTERS: On "Reds."

KEATON: That's right.

WALTERS: At the time were you a little bit in love with him?

KEATON: Of course. I mean, why wouldn't I be? I mean, the guy is just maybe the most extraordinary man I've ever met and...

WALTERS: Really, with all the men you've met Jack Nicholson's the most extraordinary man you've ever met?

KEATON: Yes. Well, first of all, he's Irish, and my dad was Irish. I love those Irish men. I mean, this guy is like -- whoo. He's once in a lifetime. He's a once in a lifetime guy.




WALTERS: What's it been like, this roller coaster?

ROBIN GIVENS, ACTRESS: It's been torture. It's been pure hell. It's been worse than anything I could possibly imagine.

WALTERS: Does he hit you?

GIVENS: He shakes. He pushes. He -- he swings.


KING: That had to be one of the weird ones. WALTERS: Mike Tyson. That was. That was "20/20." That was one of the wildest, weird -- when this interview ran this is when he threw a chair through the window and the marriage broke up.

KING: Back to the calls for Barbara Walters. Coral Springs, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Barbara. It's such an honor to talk to you.

WALTERS: Thank you.

CALLER: I'd like to know, how did you come up with the idea for "The View" and to what do you attribute all the chemistry that all of you have, because it's such a fun show.

KING: Good question.

WALTERS: You've used the right word. It is a chemistry. People have tried to copy it. There was a male version of "The View." It is the chemistry of these 4 women. We have now have a new -- the young one, Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

KING: She's very good.

WALTERS: It was seamless when she came in. And Star Jones, and Star, who just got engaged, flashing the ring. And we're very happy for her. And Joy and Meredith. It is the chemistry. It either works or it doesn't.

The idea was so simple. The program was on at 11:00, 10:00 here in the west. It was a dead time period. And they said to Bill Getty, who produces my specials and me, do you have any ideas for a show? Because they didn't have any. And I said I have an idea for a show. Women of different generations, different experiences, maybe too different, and that's the way the show began. And that's the way it was. But what makes it happen is these women. Their intelligence and their humor.

KING: Was it a hit right from the start?

WALTERS: No. The first year we sort of stumbled. And perhaps if it had not been mine it might not have gotten the second year. Because you know, they didn't know who most of these women were. Joy Behar was unknown. Meredith was a serious news correspondent. Star Jones they'd seen, because she was so good at the O.J. Simpson trial. But none of them were very well known.

So it -- you know, it began to take off. Now we've been doing it for seven years. We could not be more surprised.

KING: Seven years?

WALTERS: Yes. I can't believe it. You know. And we just did a week from Las Vegas. We -- you will see tomorrow's was taped. All the rest were live. And it's just such fun to be with them. That's why I wouldn't think of giving up that show. KING: By the way, an upcoming "20/20" you have an interview with the Empress of Iran.

WALTERS: Yes. It's the first time -- she has written her autobiography. This will be on -- I guess, 2 weeks from tomorrow. It is the first time, the Shahbanou she's called, has talked about her private life, his death, the fact nobody wanted them when they left Iran. What happened with Khomeini. She is an absolutely beautiful woman. This is a little piece about her coronation.

KING: Let's watch a clip.


WALTERS: In 1967 there was the coronation. Not only was he crowned king, he had you crowned his queen. Tell me about that day.

FARAH PAHLAVI, EMPRESS OF IRAN: Well, you know, it was very important, I think, for me and for the women in the country, because I always say when my husband crowned me I felt that he has crowned all the women of Iran.

WALTERS: Was your crown very heavy?

PAHLAVI: It was.

WALTERS: It was diamonds?

PAHLAVI: It was diamonds and emeralds and rubies and pearls that I always say that the weight of the responsibility is much heavier than that crown that you wear for a few hours.


WALTERS: What an unbelievable...

KING: She looks interesting. You say we should have her, huh?

WALTERS: You should interview her. We've known each other for many years. I used to do interviews back in Iran when she was...

KING: Oh, really?

WALTERS: Oh, yes. When she was the Shahbanou, the empress. I interviewed him. And I was the only one who saw him when he was finally allowed to come to this country.

KING: Dying.

WALTERS: Dying. Her story is a heartbreaking and wonderful...

KING: Beautiful woman.

WALTERS: Yes. She still is. I think you'd find her fascinating to talk to.

KING: St. Paul, Minnesota for Barbara Walters. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show. Thanks for all that you do for everyone.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Barbara, I am so excited to talk to you. I totally love and admire all that you've done for women in our country. And my question is when you're interviewing a person isn't it difficult to not want to insert your own opinions into the conversation?

WALTERS: I guess I've learned over the years not to give my opinions. You really -- I mean, there are interviewers who do. I remember years and years ago interviewing Katharine Hepburn, who did very few interviews, and I'd just come back from the Middle East. And she had said something about I know right from wrong, don't you -- I see things in black and white.

And I said, well, Miss Hepburn, I've just come back from the Middle East and interviewed people all over, and sometimes I don't see things in black and white, I see things in gray. And she said, well, I pity you.

You know, so you don't inject your personal opinions. I don't think people know what my political opinions are or yours. I don't think people know what my opinions are on the major issues. And if I don't like someone I don't think you know it -- you do know it if I do like them, I think, because you just get effusive.

KING: Destin, Georgia. Hello. Oh, I'm sorry. Destin, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I think you're both irreplaceable, first of all.

KING: You've got a good point.

CALLER: It's impossible.

KING; Maybe we ought to go out doing a show together. That'll be -- when we're 80, we'll go out together.

CALLER: Barbara, I really...

KING: Go ahead. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes. Barbara, I really have to tell you that I'm having a hard time with the new girl on "The View." Maybe it's because I'm getting older and wisdom is going to take 20 years. But please, please, please find good, good people around you. You're so great, both of you. Thank you.

WALTERS: Well, thank you. But I think that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is simply wonderful. She's more conservative in her points of view. You know, on "The View" they do give their opinions. Oh, boy, do they give their opinions. I mean, I've sometimes said to them they're going to have so many opinions I won't be on the air anymore. But I think she's terrific.

KING: Her husband's a good quarterback, too.

WALTERS: Very good quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

KING: St. Petersburg, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Barbara, with everything you've done in your life, is there anything you think you've missed out on or would have done differently?

WALTERS: I would have -- I think about my child a lot. And Jackie runs a camp called New Horizons. And she runs a camp for adolescent girls in crisis in Maine. I'm so proud of her and what she does. And she had a very stormy adolescence. We've talked about it. We've done stories on it.

And you know, I look and think, oh, could I have made it easier, could I have done something different? Was it because I was working too hard? And you know, I say this to all working mothers and fathers. You know, there's always that should I have done more, should I have -- if I have any guilts or concerns, that's where it would be.

On the other hand, she's such a spectacular person that you know maybe all of that helped. I just think on that -- what have I given up? Maybe time with friends. I might have that now. I don't know. I wasn't very good at marriage. So I can't say...

KING: Took me a while, too.

WALTERS: But you struck gold.

KING: Barbara Walters is our special guest. And we'll be back with our -- by the way, speaking of some exclusives. Michael Eisner will be here tomorrow night.

WALTERS: Really?

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: Could I leave a list of questions?

KING: Talking about what's going on at Disney.

Regis Philbin will be here, too. And you know, they're bringing the millionaire show for $10 million. As we go to break, here's Barbara Walters with the "Queer Eye" folk.


WALTERS: Have you heard the rumor that one of you is really straight?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's out now. There. You've got it.

WALTERS: There's the show. There's the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a call from a radio station, and they asked me, they said, is it true that you're the straight one? I said, oh, my God, please stop spreading this rumor, my wife and children are going to freak out on me.




WALTERS: How do you feel about the fact that Mr. Blackwell, whose only job it seems to be to say who's badly dressed, said that you're a terrible dresser. You know what he said about you?


WALTERS: He said you look like Queen Victoria on her way to jury duty.

KEATON: Well, it's a good line. You've got to give him that. Hey, you know, I'm glad to be on the 10 worst dressed list. I'll tell you that. Because hey, it means I'm that person who's not doing what everybody else is doing. I get to do it my way. And that's the deal, man. I like that. I mean, I don't want to be perfect, oh, God, yes, I made the best dressed. Sorry, it's not going to go that way.


KING: She's her own person.

WALTERS: Want to hear something funny? Did you see what she was wearing? So we finished the interview, and I said, gee, that's a good-looking coat. Maybe I'd like to get it. She said, it's yours. I said I'm not allowed to accept gifts, I can't take this. She went downstairs, we did it in a hotel. I'm still in the suite where we were doing it. Just before she gets in the taxi, it's freezing cold, she takes the coat off, throws it to the bell person, says, bring this up to Barbara Walters. So the coat's now mine. I sent her like a dozen pair of gloves. And the next time I saw her doing an interview she's wearing the gloves that I gave her.

KING: That's all from the Barbara Walters special coming the night of the Academy awards a week from Sunday. Flint, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Barbara, in your 40 years of being a journalist has there ever been an interview that has deeply disturbed you? WALTERS: Oh, my goodness. There have been many. A lot of them that have to do with the Middle East, I think. Talking to various dictators. When you worry and are concerned about the country. There have been some human interest interviews that disturbed me a great deal. There have been some that have touched me so emotionally, like Christopher Reeve. You know, you can go through a list. Can I clear something up before my daughter kills me? It's not a wilderness program per se. It's a therapeutic camp. All right? I don't want to hear, oh, mommy, you finally talk about me and you said the wrong thing.

KING: Last call, Riverhead, Long Island, New York. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: I can't believe I'm speaking to the two greatest icons of television.

KING: You're a keen observer.

CALLER: Barbara, have you ever met or interviewed the late Princess Diana? And what was your impression of her?

KING: We have a minute.

WALTERS: OK. She was supposed to do an interview with me. She sadly, you know, had that tragic accident. She had said that the next interview she would do she would do with me. I knew her a little bit. We had three or four lunches together. You know, I just mentioned my daughter. And Princess Diana reminded me so much. I found her vulnerable. I found her beautiful. And at the time that I knew her unlike my daughter she was a very disturbed and unhappy young woman. I wanted to put my arms around and hug her.

KING: Why did the world love her so much?

WALTERS: Because she had that vulnerability and because she was open and because we could all sort of look at her and see something of ourselves, and she allowed us to love her. If somebody will give you that emotion. And also her kindness. You know, she really did some very wonderful things.

KING: Barbara, you're a doll.

WALTERS: I love being with you, Larry. Thank you, my dear. My love to Shawn.

KING: Don't forget the Barbara Walters special will air on February 29, the night of the Academy awards. It will air preceding the awards. That's at 7:00 Eastern in the eastern and central and I guess Central time zones. And then in the west it'll air immediately following the Academy awards. Barbara Walters. And I'll be back in a couple of minutes and tell you about tomorrow night and the weekend. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Some great shows coming up. Michael Eisner tomorrow night. Exclusive. Regis Philbin also tomorrow night. Saturday night, we'll repeat our interview with Jeffrey Schilling and Monday night, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon together interviewed for the first time.

It's always kind of a first night though when we turn it over to "NEWSNIGHT." It's like opening night on Broadway. It's Aaron "The B." Brown in his magical hour of mystique and interest. Mr. Brown, we can't wait.



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