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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Dennis Rader Details His Crimes; Interview With the Hawkins Family; Interview with the Hiltons
Aired June 27, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS RADER: And I returned to another bedroom and he was already secured there by the bed. I tied his feet to the bedpost, on the bedpost, and he couldn't run. Kind of tied her in the other bedroom and came back to strangle him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a serial killer speaks. The BTK strangler pleads guilty to 10 counts of first degree murder and gives blood-chilling details about his brutal crime.
Plus exclusive, Brennan Hawkins, the 11-year-old Cub Scout who survived four days alone in the wilderness. CNN was the first to tell you when he was found alive, and now we're the first to bring him to you with his whole family.
And what's it really like to be a headline-grabbing Hilton? Mom Kathy, dad Rick and daughter Nicky dish the truth the tabloids don't tell. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with the incredible story out of Wichita. In Wichita is Nola Foulston, the district attorney for the 18th judicial district. In Albuquerque is Charlie Otero. His father, mother and two of his younger siblings were found strangled in their home on January 15th, Dennis Rader pled guilty to their murders earlier today.
Robert Beattie is in Wichita. He is the attorney and author of "Nightmare in Wichita, The Hunt for the BTK Strangler."
Danny Saville is the defense attorney who squared off against Dennis Rader in court in 1998 in a dog compliance case, and in Wichita is CNN correspondent David Mattingly. We'll start with David. What happened today?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, we saw an extraordinary admission of guilt from Dennis Rader. He came in, was standing with his hands behind him, his fists clinched, often. He went very, as a matter of fact, through every single one of these murders, telling the court exactly what he did, how and where. One of the big questions that was not asked by the judge, and he didn't have to ask this today was why. Why did he do this?
Dennis Rader, however, did say that he did go trolling. In other words, saying that he wanted to go out there and was trolling for his victims, that they were picked at random and that he had no particular connection to them and that the victims were just someone he had picked wherever the mood seemed to strike. What we also saw was a day of closure for some of the families today. They were listening very closely. This was not an easy courtroom where you could hear things that were being said, but they were listening very closely. It was very quiet in there. All you could hear was the judge and Dennis Rader, Larry.
KING: Nola Foulston, district attorney for the 18th judicial district, State of Kansas, did he plead guilty on some sort of deal?
NOLA FOULSTON, D.A., SEDGWICK COUNTY, KANSAS: I'm sorry? I'm sorry. Go ahead again.
KING: Do you hear me now? Does he have some sort of deal, life in prison for return for this?
FOULSTON: Oh, no, no, no. There were no plea negotiations in this case, Larry. This case was pled entirely without any negotiations from the state, not even on the type of plea.
KING: He will be sentenced in August. Why do you think he plead guilty?
FOULSTON: Well, I think that the wealth of evidence that the state had and the fact that Mr. Rader had hardly any defense to this particular case would be a compelling reason why he plead guilty. And as for his own personal reasons, his motives, I couldn't speculate as to that. But the state had a very strong case. And when we evaluated this case for trial, we were ready to go any single day. Right after we put the case together, it didn't take us any great length of time to figure out this was a case that needed to be tried and without delay.
KING: Did you ever see so -- for want of a better term -- strange or composed defendant?
FOULSTON: I've been in a case with -- trial with a lot of individuals I'd classify antisocial and a lot of them with similar characteristics. I've also tried other serial killers in the time I've been here. I've been practicing as a prosecutor since 1977. So, I've seen my share.
This individual represents one of the worst that I've seen. He obviously has no compassion. He is self centered. He's a sexual psychopath. He treats individuals about the same level that he treats animals. Of course, he had a good start at that as a compliance officer for the city.
One of the things you might have picked up from the taped statement during the court proceeding was that as he talked about killing these human beings he would talk about putting them down, one phrase you might hear ...
KING: An animal term. FOULSTON: ... when you euthanizing an animal. Right. Putting that all together and knowing what this individual was like, and the manner and method in which he killed people, and his own statements in court gives you a pretty good idea this is an individual who is in control of himself, that doesn't have any -- it's kind of an all about me, I am Dennis Rader and it's all about me.
KING: Charlie Otero is in Albuquerque. His father, mother and two of his younger siblings were found strangled January 15, 1974. Charlie, did you watch him this morning?
CHARLIE OTERO, BROTHER AND SON OF VICTIMS: No. I had no opportunity to watch the proceedings, nor have I been told anything about what happened.
KING: I'm going to play a little clip now. You may not want to watch it. But if you do, we're going to play a small clip as he talked about your family. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADER: First of all, Mr. Otero was strangled, bag put over his head and strangled. I thought he was going down. I went over and strangled Mrs. Otero. I thought she was down. Then I strangled Josephine and she was down. Then I went over to junior and put the bag on his head. After that, Mrs. Otero woke back up and, you know, she was pretty upset, what's going on. So, I came back and at that point in time, strangled her for the death strangle at that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Charlie, what's your reaction?
OTERO: I'm disappointed and upset that I wasn't able to view these proceedings and see the words come out of this man's mouth before the rest of the world did. I don't believe him, though, and the way he says he killed my family doesn't make any sense. I don't believe he acted alone. I don't believe he randomly killed my family. I also ...
KING: What do you think?
OTERO: I also want to take this opportunity to thank everybody.
KING: What do you think? You think other people were involved?
OTERO: There's no way. He didn't explain how he dealt with my dog. I believe whole heartedly my father was forewarned that something was wrong. That he knew something was going on. And I don't think we've heard the full story from Dennis Rader. He's a murderer and a liar.
KING: Where were you?
OTERO: I had gone to school early that day. It was mid terms and I was a straight A student at that time. KING: Robert Beattie, you wrote "Nightmare in Wichita, the Hunt for the BTK Strangler." What were your impressions about that appearance this morning?
ROBERT BEATTIE, AUTHOR AND ATTORNEY: Larry, last February, a week before Dennis Rader was arrested, I told you BTK is an evil Walter Mitty and today BTK, Dennis Rader says he committed these murders to fulfill his sexual fantasies. I think he is an evil Walter Mitty. I think we saw the side of him or he discussed the side of him, the inner life that he led that sometimes manifested itself out in these murders. Apparently his hobby was trolling for victims, then stalking them and occasionally attacking and killing them.
KING: Now, Danny Saville, as a defense attorney you squared off against him in court in '98 in a civil case, a dog compliance case. What was that all about? What were your impressions?
DANNY SAVILLE, ATTORNEY: Well, I had a client who had four counts of dog running at large. And it was actually a friend of mine in my building. And he brought those to me, because he was so upset, he just threw Dennis out of his backyard. And I thought I was going to make a phone call and make the tickets go away. They're just $25 tickets. And that was just -- that was -- 30 exhibits and one narrative page later, we did a trial and he continued the case twice just to prepare for trial. But the trial lasted for about an hour and I had him on the stand for a good half an hour of that and it was deja vu today whenever he started in from about count four on, when he really got to rolling with -- he started getting confident with his testimony today and it was just like that trial then, because he would answer the questions before they were put before him. He just had an agenda. And he got it done.
KING: Were you shocked when you found out it was him?
SAVILLE: Yeah. I mean, I was shocked that I knew him. I just introduced my six-year-old daughter to him a couple of weeks earlier when I brought her to court with me. It's shocking. I made him kind of mad when I tried this case against him in '98. I would like to ask him if I was on his short list, you know.
KING: Did you win that case?
SAVILLE: No. He won it in Park City and we appealed it and then we just ended up settling it at district court here.
KING: Let me get a break and come back with more -- we'll be back with more and then we'll meet the Hawkins family and that incredible story in Utah and then the Hiltons. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADER: First of all, Mr. Otero was strangled -- or a bag put over his head and strangled. Then I thought he was going down. I went over and strangled Mrs. Otero. And I thought she was down. Then I strangled Josephine and she was down. Then i went over to junior and put the bag on his head. After that, Mrs. Otero woke back up and, you know, she was pretty upset, what's going on. So, I came back and at that point in time, strangled her for the death strangle at that time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With your hands or what?
RADER: No, with a cord. With a rope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADER: If you've read much about serial killers, they go through what they call different phases. That's one of the phases they go through, is a trolling stage. Basically, you're looking for a victim at that time. You could be trolling for months or years, but once you lock in on a certain person, then you become stalking that. And that might be several of them, but you really hone in on that person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nola Foulston, no death penalty in Kansas -- there is now, but there wasn't when this crime was committed, so he'll probably get life on all counts, right?
FOULSTON: Yes, the maximum sentence he could get if they're all run consecutively or one right after the other could be life or 175 years before patrol eligibility. That's what we're looking for.
KING: He'll never be on the streets again. Robert Beattie, can we learn from him?
BEATTIE: Well, I'm sure social scientists will want to talk with him. Probably, police officers will want to talk with him about how he deceived people. It's unfortunate. It would be like talking to the Nazis and learning about them. He talked so coldly about his victims today, it reminded me of loading bodies into ovens at Treblinka-- it was pretty sickening.
And I know news media want to talk to him, like Charles Manson, but I hope nobody glamorizes this guy.
KING: Charlie Otero, what would you say to him? What would you ask him?
OTERO: There are no words on God's green earth that I could say to this man that would convey the feelings that I have towards him.
KING: And Danny Saville, you have already said you would want to know if you were on his list, right?
SAVILLE: Yes, and also if Robert Beattie brought him out. Because I really believe if Robert had not been writing the book that he probably would be sitting at home right now, you know, enjoying his freedom, which is something he'll never see again.
KING: David Mattingly, were you in the courtroom? And what were your observations?
MATTINGLY: I was not actually in the courtroom, but our observations here, a very powerful moment for everybody, investigators close to this case back in the '70s, I was standing with one of them, they were telling me that the person they saw in court today was exactly the person they believed BTK to be, someone completely without remorse and, as we heard Dennis Rader go through crime after crime, explaining what he did, there was not a single hint of remorse this entire day.
KING: Nola, and that's fairly common? These are sociopaths, totally?
FOULSTON: Well, you know, there are a lot of individuals who come into the criminal justice system that are antisocial individuals. That's why they find themselves involved in crime. This individual is unique for his personality and for the crimes that he committed. He is without remorse, but he's also without a conscience and without the general feelings of any human being of having any feelings towards others.
I mean, we're talking about an individual who did this for his own personal gain without any feelings toward any human being. As I said before, when he talks human beings, he talks about them in terms of putting them down. Most of these, of course, all of them were driven by his sexual desires without -- you know, you talk about this individual going to a home and he talks about Shirley Vian, one of the victims in this case, throwing up and how he was so generous and kind as to get and get her a glass of water and how he comforted her and turns around and puts a bag over her head and a rope around her neck and strangles her.
It's just, the dichotomy is unbelievable. And he does this with -- as if we're going to feel some compassion in him. It's not there. It never was. And any face that he shows in his community is not the same face. This is the man who kills a woman and then brings her back to his church, wrapped up and takes photographs in his own church of her in positions of sexual bondage. We're talking about an individual that has no place in our community.
KING: Cannot comprehend. Thank you all very much.
FOULSTON: Thank you, Larry.
KING: What an incredible morning. And Aaron Brown is going to do a lot more on this on NEWSNIGHT following this show. You can bet there will be a lot to talk about it around water coolers across America tomorrow.
When we come back, the incredible story of the recovery and the finding of Brennan Hawkins in Utah. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RADER: I proceeded to tie her up. She got sick, threw up. I got her a glass of water, comforted her a little bit and then went ahead and tied her up and put a bag over her head and strangled her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: They're at the home of a family friend in Bountiful, Utah. They are the Hawkins family. The subject of a major story, and there they are. They're Jody Hawkins, the mother of Brennan Hawkins, the 11-year-old can you be scout found alive last week after missing four days in Utah's Uinta Mountains, Toby Hawkins, his father, Mariah Hawkins, his sister, Taylor Hawkins, his brother, Cameron Hawkins, his brother and Mitchell Hawkins, his younger brother. We'll start with Jody. I see young Brennan in front. How is he doing, Jody?
JODY HAWKINS, MOTHER OF BRENNAN: He's doing very well, back to his old self.
KING: Is that him right there?
J. HAWKINS: It is. He's messing with his ear piece.
KING: OK. Is he -- You said this when he was missing, Toby, that one of your concerns was that how shy your son was. That was part of the problem, right? He didn't respond to people trying to find him, correct?
TOBY HAWKINS, BRENNAN'S FATHER: I think in certain situations Larry, that he did. We don't know how often that occurred, but we did teach -- we taught Brennan that it was important for him to stay away from strangers. We never anticipated a situation where he would be in a rescue situation and lost and people looking for him, but, yeah, we did think that that did occur on occasion.
KING: Mariah, you're 19. He's your younger brother. How do you think he survived?
MARIAH HAWKINS, BRENNAN'S SISTER: I just think he's a fighter. He was a fighter from birth, born a premie. And everyone thought that he wouldn't live though the night, but he did. And so he just has been like that his whole life.
KING: Is premie, Mariah, part of what might be his problem, the shyness, do you think?
M. HAWKINS: I think it might have something to do with it.
KING: Taylor, is ...
J. HAWKINS: ... searchers until that day -- Sorry.
KING: No, go ahead, Jody. Does he have any kind of a medical problem, Jody? J. HAWKINS: No, not a medical problem. Just a little social. But he said he didn't see any people or hear any people until the horses and ATVs. I asked him that several times. So, it wasn't like he was hiding from people. He was so far up there, the searchers hadn't got that far yet. He said never did he hear people calling for him or see people. Other than the horses and ATVs when they found him.
KING: Brennan, weren't you hungry?
BRENNAN HAWKINS, GOT LOST IN MOUNTAINS: Yes.
B. HAWKINS: Yes.
KING: But no injuries?
B. HAWKINS: No.
KING: You look great. What do you make of it, Taylor? You're the older brother. What do you make of your young friend here?
TAYLOR HAWKINS, BRENNAN'S BROTHER: I definitely agree with Mariah. I think he's a fighter and stuck out the nights. He's a fighter, he's always gone his whole life, like Mariah said, always done his own thing and he did his help out, that midget thing that he always does with his shirt going over his knees helped him out, kept him warm, so he just stayed in that position.
KING: What do you call that?
TAYLOR HAWKINS: Midget mode?
TAYLOR HAWKINS: That's when he pulls his sweater over his knees and hunkers down and keeps him warm.
KING: Brennan, you're the 11-year-old. Cameron, you're 14. You're the closest to him in age. Were you surprised at how well he did?
CAMERON HAWKINS, BRENNAN'S BROTHER: Yeah. I knew he would be all right, though. I felt his spirit.
KING: You are all -- is it right, Toby, devout Mormons?
TOBY HAWKINS: Yes.
J. HAWKINS: Yes.
KING: Did prayer play -- did prayer ...
TOBY HAWKINS: You bet it did. Larry, from the beginning, we started this incident with prayer and we had a family prayer when we got the news and I think that power and the spirit that came from that influenced us greatly throughout this whole ordeal. It brought a lot of peace to us.
KING: What is Brennan saying to you, Jody?
J. HAWKINS: He talked a lot last night. Doesn't like to go to bed at night. So, last night he thought talking about it was a better option than going to bed. I think he walked a lot, especially in the very beginning. That's how he got so far out when the searchers found him.
KING: Brennan, did you see any animals?
B. HAWKINS: No.
KING: Were you scared?
B. HAWKINS: What?
KING: Were you scared?
B. HAWKINS: Yes. Yes.
KING: Obviously, he has a lot of energy, Toby. It comes through. Toby, did you ever give up hope?
TOBY HAWKINS: There were times when we worried about his situation, but hope, no. We really believed that, through the peaceful promptings that we received, Larry, that he was okay. It was frustrating at a certain point in time, we weren't getting any clues and the concern was that without any clues that, you know, that it would be a very difficult, long search but he came through, we found him and our hope came through.
KING: Do you go to church on Sunday, Jody?
J. HAWKINS: We did. As a family. It was great to see everybody that was up in the mountains looking for him. That's our support group.
KING: I'll bet the church was crowded.
J. HAWKINS: It was. Good people. And so were all the churches across the valley.
KING: Did Brennan go?
J. HAWKINS: He did.
KING: Mariah, did you ever give up hope?
M. HAWKINS: No, I didn't. There was a point where I didn't know what -- like my dad was saying, I didn't know what exactly his situation was, but I knew whatever happened to him, that he was safe. I never felt like he was hurt or in any harm. I knew he was being taken care of. KING: We'll come back with some moments with the Hawkins family gathered together in Bountiful, Utah. What a great story. And then the Hiltons join us. Don't go away.
KING: By the way, little Mitchell Hawkins in front is Brennan's younger brother, eight years old. He is not miked but he sure is cute.
How did you learn -- we'll start with Taylor. Taylor, how did you learn your brother was found?
TAYLOR HAWKINS: I was just about ready to go out on a search, and somebody pulled me aside and said that they heard a rumor that they had -- that they had found him, and they wanted me to get with my mom. And they put us on the road, and then they put us in the car. And I think her name was Katie. She said, don't worry about it, because they found him. And then, of course, our first question was, is he all right? And she says, he's doing perfectly fine.
KING: Cameron, how did you find out?
C. HAWKINS: The same way. I was just about to go to my friends, and one of the people who were doing the driver's license, they were just like, you should check in with your family. And I went up there, and just got in the car. And then the sheriff told us.
KING: Had you ever given up?
C. HAWKINS: Uh-uh.
C. HAWKINS: No.
KING: Mariah, how did you find out?
M. HAWKINS: We all found out about the same time. And it was me, and Taylor, and Cameron, and my mom were all in the same truck when the sheriff told us.
KING: Oh, you were?
M. HAWKINS: Yeah, she told us that he was found, and we were all expecting the worst, hoping for the best, and then she told us that he was alive. And it was one of the most emotional moments of my entire life. And we were hysterical. We were so excited. And it was -- it was incredible.
KING: Jody, I hope there wasn't a long pause between he was found and he's OK.
J. HAWKINS: It was too long for me.
KING: And where were you, Toby? TOBY HAWKINS: I was out on a search, Larry. I was down by the river's edge. The search captain that was in my group, a guy by the name of Shawn (ph) kind of dropped off. And I kind of wondered, I thought it was a little peculiar. He called me back and said, hey, Toby, come here, we need to get you to the road. I said, Shawn (ph), man, talk to me, Goose, I need to know what's going on. And he says if everything that I'm hearing on the radio is correct, they found Brennan.
I said, is he alive? And he said, yes, he's alive. What kind of condition is he in? And he says, it looks like good. And then I rapidly ran over to the road to get into a truck that transported me to the area where we saw Brennan.
KING: Had to be the happiest ride of your life.
TOBY HAWKINS: I'll tell you what. I was huffing and puffing. My breathing, I know, was outside of control. Cindy, who was with the search and rescue that was with me, kept on saying, now, settle down. And she offered me Gatorade. And you know, it was an exciting time. I couldn't get there fast enough.
KING: Brennan, did you know, Brennan, did you know that everybody was worried about you?
B. HAWKINS: Yes.
J. HAWKINS: You didn't then. When you were in the mountains, did you know?
B. HAWKINS: Not really.
KING: Have you been eating well now that you're back, Brennan?
B. HAWKINS: Yeah, sort of.
TOBY HAWKINS: One night, Larry, he ate -- one night, he ate seven pieces of pizza. He's eaten a variety of candy that he loves. And you know, he's back on track. He's eating very well.
B. HAWKINS: That's true.
KING: Would you go camping again, Brennan?
B. HAWKINS: Oh, yeah. It's just not in the same area.
KING: Not in the same -- are you going to be a Boy Scout too?
B. HAWKINS: Yeah.
KING: What do you want to be when you grow up?
B. HAWKINS: I have no clue.
KING: An honest 11-year-old.
You got any girlfriends, Brennan?
B. HAWKINS: Let's just talk about later.
J. HAWKINS: All right.
TOBY HAWKINS: That's good, Brennan.
KING: He's pretty cool. Does he, Mariah? Are there any girls? He's so cute. Do any girls like him, Mariah?
M. HAWKINS: He is cute. He always says that the hot girls like him.
KING: The hot girls like him?
M. HAWKINS: Yeah.
KING: I want to thank you all, Hawkins. You are a terrific family. You know how much, Toby, I'm sure you know how much everyone was praying for you.
TOBY HAWKINS: Yes, I do. And we wanted to extend our thanks and appreciation to everybody, the volunteers, search and rescue, Larry, to the media. They played a critical role in this whole thing. And it all turned out to be a very happy ending.
J. HAWKINS: Family and friends, we love you, we thank you. Thanks, Larry.
KING: Thank you all. Hey, Brennan, good luck.
B. HAWKINS: OK, thanks.
KING: Always terrific. The Hawkins.
When we come back, another family. Different type.
Ricky Hilton, Rick Hilton, we call him, he's mature now, and Kathy Hilton. And Nicky will be joining us by phone. And they've got a wild new show. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHY HILTON, HOST, "I WANT TO BE A HILTON": Hi, everyone. I'm Kathy Hilton. I'm so excited and so happy to see you all here. Now, if you have a blue ribbon, you're on the Madison team, and if your ribbon is green, you're on the Park team.
I want you to work hard, watch your back. Because if your team loses, you're going to be meeting with me to find out what went wrong. And I'm going to be writing a list of who will continue with us, and unfortunately, each and every time, one of you won't be on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Joining us now, the most recognizable names in the world, the Hiltons. They are Kathy and Rick Hilton. Kathy is the host of that new reality show you just saw a clip, "I Want to be a Hilton." She's the mother of the famed Paris and Nicky Hilton, a former actress herself. And Rick Hilton, one of the executive producers of "I Want to be a Hilton," is the father of Paris and Nicky. He's a real estate broker, the grandson of the famed Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotel chain.
With us on the phone is Nicky Hilton, the younger daughter of Ricky and Kathy. And she's a handbag and clothing designer. She's in New York. And daughter Paris is in London with her boyfriend, Paris. What do you make of that, Paris-Paris?
RICK HILTON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "I WANT TO BE A HILTON": It's confusing, Larry.
KING: What does it feel like, by the way? Is she close to marriage?
K. HILTON: Well, I think so.
K. HILTON: She's engaged.
R. HILTON: It's official, engagement, but there hasn't been a date set yet.
KING: She has a ring?
R. HILTON: Yes.
K. HILTON: Yes.
KING: Does it compare to your ring? If you want to be a Hilton -- let me see your ring. Wow, folks, can we get a close-up of this ring? This is a Hilton ring.
K. HILTON: Thank you.
KING: How long have you had this?
K. HILTON: About a year.
KING: Oh, a new engagement ring, Rick? What prompted this?
R. HILTON: I actually like the ring that I gave her for our 10th anniversary. She doesn't wear that as often, but...
R. HILTON: ... wear that one more.
KING: Now, give me a little history of this show.
K. HILTON: Basically, last week was our premiere episode.
KING: How did it come about?
K. HILTON: You know, (INAUDIBLE) approached us about a year ago. And I just loved the concept. And I thought, this sounded like something I'd like to do. Why not?
R. HILTON: What was nice about it, Larry, is they approached us, and it was more of a business type of show. And then we sat down with them for about an hour and a half. And we kept thinking of new ways to be creative here. And we have much more than business. Explain a little bit about it.
K. HILTON: Well, last week, the premiere episode was etiquette and fine dining. But we've moved on now. And a lot of the press keeps talking about the etiquette. We've moved on. Next week, Paris and Nicky -- well, tomorrow night, Tuesday night, Paris and Nicky come on the show and take the 14 contestants out to rounding people up to come to a big estate sale, and we're raising money for breast cancer.
KING: And the purpose is there will be a winner, right?
K. HILTON: Yes. There are eight episodes.
KING: And the winner -- the winner gets?
R. HILTON: A $200,000 trust fund. They get an apartment for one year.
K. HILTON: Clothing, jewelry.
R. HILTON: Lots of goodies.
K. HILTON: Prizes.
KING: To be a Hilton, in other words?
K. HILTON: Well, that's the title of the show. That's a way to get your attention. But I think when you get to see and get to know the characters and how hysterically funny they are, it will keep your attention.
KING: Nicky, you're on the phone. What did you make of this idea?
NICKY HILTON, DAUGHTER: I mean, I'll admit, I'm the first one to rag on a reality show. I mean, I just -- I just don't like them. But, you know, my mom and my dad told me about this show, and I just thought it was such a cute idea. It's fun, it's not nasty, and it's just, you know, basically taking this group of people and showing them, you know, New York City, things they've never seen, places they've never been. Restaurants. You know, just the whole culture. And I thought it was -- I think it's very cute. I love the show.
KING: Haven't you generally, Rick, resisted having the Hilton name out there, other than on a hotel? R. HILTON: Well, I don't work for Hilton hotels.
KING: I know, but, generally, haven't you -- you're not the kind of person that we would think would be involved in television.
R. HILTON: Well, it's, you know, I always look for new challenges. And I saw this as a new challenge. My basic business has been real estate, but it was very exciting working on this.
KING: Did you agree with the title, by the way, "I Want to be a Hilton"?
K. HILTON: No.
R. HILTON: NBC won't want to hear me say this, but we fought them on that. But you know, it's all about catching the audience and getting them to tune in. Once they'll tune in, they'll love it.
K. HILTON: And it's not me saying it. Once they -- exactly. It's the people saying it that are on the show.
KING: It's the people vying to be -- how did you find the contestants?
K. HILTON: I love -- they are hysterically funny. They are hysterical.
R. HILTON: The people who have seen this show, they love it, and they think we have the best cast they've ever seen on a reality show. What you have to -- I don't know if you've seen it yet, Larry. Tune in tomorrow night.
KING: I will see it. I will.
K. HILTON: Tomorrow night, 9:00.
R. HILTON: 9:00, and this show, you will crack up. It is hilarious.
KING: You are on this week's episode, both of you?
K. HILTON: No. Paris and Nicky are (INAUDIBLE).
KING: Oh, they are doing it...
K. HILTON: And we are raising money for breast cancer. My mother passed away two years ago. So...
KING: Did Paris go for this right away, too?
K. HILTON: Oh, when they knew that it was something, you know, to help, you know, for their grandmother, and that they would have 14 contestants to help and help raise money, they were very, very excited. And they enjoyed meeting all the contestants. It was really -- it's fun. You know, we're not saving lives. We are not -- we are having a great time. KING: What's wrong with that?
K. HILTON: And if we can raise money and have a good time...
KING: Any downside to being a Hilton?
R. HILTON: You live in a fish bowl. And a lot of times, people will say things that are not correct, and that's quite bothersome, but you get used to it.
KING: When you read things in tabloids that are untrue, how do you react? I mean...
K. HILTON: Well, you know, as we all know, the media does not portray people exactly how they are, and sometimes the good things aren't true and sometimes, a lot of the times, the unkind things are not true.
KING: And how do you react?
R. HILTON: Don't read it.
K. HILTON: Don't read it. Don't read it.
KING: And friends don't tell you, did you see...?
K. HILTON: Some people do. Some people do, and then sometimes I get (INAUDIBLE), because in a sense, it becomes addicting, too. It's like, I've got to see it, I've got to see it.
R. HILTON: Larry, I'll give you an example of this. The papers the other day, they said that Tinkerbell attacked somebody on "The Today Show" while she was being interviewed with Katie Couric, and Ronald Reagan, he had a statement he made once, that facts are very stubborn. The facts were that Katie Couric was not even working that day. Tinkerbell was not on the set.
K. HILTON: And was not in a Louis Vuitton cage.
R. HILTON: A newspaper I won't mention writes this up, and people read it, and...
K. HILTON: It was three out of three.
R. HILTON: ... they probably believe it and...
KING: In other words, they missed everything?
R. HILTON: They missed everything.
K. HILTON: Oh, and at the end they said...
R. HILTON: That is just an example last week of what happened.
K. HILTON: ... that I said, ooh, I'm sorry. And I asked Howard Bragman (ph) today said -- wait, my publicist -- I don't remember that. He said, you were doing radio interviews in the dressing room and the dog barked, I mean, because Tinkerbell is famous, of course...
R. HILTON: That part was correct. She was in the dressing room.
KING: Well, they had one thing right.
We'll be right back with more of the Hiltons. The show is, "I Want to be a Hilton." Episode two tomorrow night. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are off to the Hiltons' private estate in Southampton.
K. HILTON: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
K. HILTON: Well, this is the Hilton house. Come on in.
JOHNNY, PLUMBER: I need to be a Hilton. I want to be in that family.
NIKI, FASHION STUDENT: Tinkerbell!
K. HILTON: You want to hold her?
NIKI: I would love to hold her.
Because I look like Paris, I think that that will give me a little bit of an advantage, because of course, she loves her, and so I think that that will help me leave a lasting good impression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're going to turn around and wash all of these (INAUDIBLE) grates.
PARIS HILTON: I've never worked like this in my life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I assume you've never milked a cow before.
P. HILTON: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just -- I'm so tired, it's not even funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to take this and spray those gutters with it.
P. HILTON: I'm never drinking milk ever again. I'm never eating a hamburger again either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Paris Hilton. We'll ask Nicky, how did you react to all the press Paris got over the sexual incident?
N. HILTON: To be honest, I mean, to me, it's upsetting, but the part that bothered me the most is that I have two little brothers in school, and just the thought of them getting teased, or, you know, made fun of in school just broke my heart, you know.
KING: Did you blame your daughter, Kathy? Did you blame Paris? Were you angry?
K. HILTON: No, because, actually, I was very worried about her. I mean, that was a very unfortunate situation. You know, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, I mean, yes, shocked. People do those things, and people do take pictures and they do take videos -- whatever. It just was -- my husband, you know, my children, Nicky and Paris, because it was very, very upsetting to her.
KING: Were you angry?
R. HILTON: I was. You know, Larry, I always like to look at the positive in things. It could have torn the family apart, but it did the opposite, it brought us closer.
K. HILTON: Yes.
KING: How about the boys? The effect on the boys?
R. HILTON: They were younger then.
K. HILTON: They were younger, and I spoke to a professional about it, and they -- and, you know, obviously you're not going to go into details, and we kept magazines and newspapers. We were living in New York City at the time, so you have to be careful with all the mailboxes. As you walk, you see all the newspapers.
So we were very cautious of that. And I was very honest, and said, you know, there are going to be some things that come out, and it was an unfortunate situation. And if anyone talks about it, just -- just giving them a little -- and then I talked to the schools and everyone was so supportive and all of our friends and all the fans and it was, you know...
R. HILTON: It's behind us now.
KING: How is she doing now, Nicky?
N. HILTON: She's good. She's in London. I'm actually going to go maybe visit her and Paris a couple of weeks in Greece.
KING: Do you know your future brother-in-law?
N.HILTON: Yes, we spent a lot of time together. KING: What's he like?
N.HILTON: He's, I mean, -- when people ask me about that, I just say there's not much not to like. I mean, he's smart, he's polite, he treats her very well. I mean, he takes my little brothers to movies and dinner. I mean, he's just a nice guy.
KING: You want to put him on the show?
K. HILTON: He's too shy. He's not one to be in front of the camera.
KING: He is?
So, he will avoid that?
K. HILTON: I think so.
KING: How soon are they getting married?
K. HILTON: I would think within the next year. We really, you know, they haven't set a date yet. So...
KING: You're the dad, you've got to do the wedding.
R. HILTON: That's right.
KING: It'll be a big one?
R. HILTON: Looking forward to it.
KING: Do you plan on going to the Trump event?
R. HILTON: Well, it'll -- it's hard to trump Mr. Trump. So, we wouldn't want compete with that.
K. HILTON: No. No way.
KING: But I mean, do you plan a big...
R. HILTON: It will be a big affair, sure.
K. HILTON: I think it's really what she wants.
KING: She wants...
R. HILTON: Paris doesn't like doing things small, Larry.
KING: I've heard.
And Nicky, you're a handbag and clothing design is selling in big -- major stores?
N.HILTON: Yes. KING: Were you always interested in that?
N.HILTON: Yes. I mean, I love fashion. I've been designing handbags since I'm 17 and then, about a year ago, I got into the clothing industry and it's just -- I love it. It's so much fun. I went to school for it, I studied it. So, it's cool.
KING: You guys happy with her in that?
R. HILTON: Nicky's got a great flair for design and I mentioned earlier, her nickname is Chickie, so her company is called Chick by Nicky Hilton.
KING: Let's take a call.
San Diego. Hello?
CALLER: Hello. I want to know if spirituality plays a role in the Hilton family and if they've read the "Resistance Manifesto" by John Connor.
K. HILTON: No, I haven't, but I have read some spiritual books. I'd love to read that one. What is it, again?
KING: Are you a spiritual family?
There was -- I didn't -- I'd never heard of it, but...
R. HILTON: Well, we grew up as Catholics, both our families.
K. HILTON: And I go to the, you know, different...
KING: "The Resistance Manifesto."
R. HILTON: I've not read it.
KING: I haven't heard of it either.
We'll take a break and come back with more.
Don't go away.
KING: What did you make of the Carl Jr.'s ads?
R. HILTON: It was hot.
K. HILTON: Provocative.
KING: Angry at them or thought it was a cute idea?
K. HILTON: Well, I don't really watch that much TV.
KING: But you've seen it. K. HILTON: And I did see it and I didn't understand why Paris' agent called and said we'd like you come in and view the commercial. So, I said, "Rick, what do you mean, I've never heard of viewing a commercial. What is this?" And we had just come back from Paris' perfume launch in London and Paris and we were exhausted. So, I'm like: I'm not going to go down and view a commercial. So, all of a sudden, it comes on...
R. HILTON: I think they wanted to get some feedback from us, before it aired but...
KING: Tell me the -- Nicky, how do you see this show. Who's watching this show, "I Want to be a Hilton?"
N.HILTON: Well, I think right now, our culture is so celebrity- obsessed. They love, you know, materialistic stuff and so, I mean, I think there's a little bit of something for everyone.
KING: All age groups?
N.HILTON: My friends watch the show. My little cousin's friends watch the show and then, I even had one of my old school teachers, who's, you know, in her 50s watch the show. So, I mean, it's a pretty large demographic, from what I've seen.
KING: It's a great line, Nicky: Old in her 50s.
Slot McGee (ph) will never be back.
N.HILTON: Older than me, I meant.
KING: Who is this -- what do you see, this show?
K. HILTON: I see this as 14 fish out of water. Hysterically funny contestants...
KING: Seven boys; seven girls.
K. HILTON: Seven young men; seven young women. We are not saving lives. We are having fun. We're going to everything from fashion, business, arts -- that we have the two teams do a night club. Each one has their own night club, so they're learning business.
R. HILTON: We have an episode: How they handle the media.
K. HILTON: So ...
K. HILTON: We teach them how to do the acting thing.
R. HILTON: Yes. So, she's had a little experience at it. K. HILTON: Exactly. We go through everything. It's just life experiences, all through New York.
KING: You don't need the money, Rick. Why do need this?
R. HILTON: I like challenges. Real estate is getting boring, Larry.
I need to move along.
K. HILTON: I mean, think about you. I mean, you are one of the most powerful men in the world and look at Barbara Walters, look at Kirk Kerkorian in business, I mean, and you continue to do it. You don't need to do it, but you love to keep busy and you love what you're doing.
And I love to help people, so I thought: Why not?
KING: And Nicky, you're going to stay with it. If it's continued, will you be on all the future shows?
N.HILTON: I don't know.
K. HILTON: Nicky likes to be behind the scenes.
KING: You like it better behind the scenes, Nick?
N. HILTON: Yes, I'm a little more shy than my mom or my sister. Definitely.
KING: You're sister's not and you're not shy.
K. HILTON: You know, I can be.
KING: Not tonight, you're not.
N.HILTON: No, she's shy.
K. HILTON: I can't -- Nicky, am I shy sometimes?
K. HILTON: I really can be.
R. HILTON: She can be shy.
KING: Tomorrow night: Episode two.
R. HILTON: Thank you, Larry.
K. HILTON: Thank you, Larry.
KING: "I Want to be a Hilton." Our guests have been Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton and on the phone, Nicky Hilton.
On a sad note, before we go, Marsha Lieberman, the mother of Senator Joe Lieberman, died late last night. She was 90 years old. Marsha Lieberman was an amazing lady full of strength and spirit. She was also a great guest and a terrific talker. Marsha Lieberman will be missed. Our deepest sympathies to go out to her family. There you see her lovely face.
I remember interviewing her at the 1990 -- at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, when her son was nominated for vice president, and I asked her a simple question: What's it like when he does something you don't approve of?
And she looked at me incredulously and said, "My son? Something wrong? Are you crazy?"
Bob Costas hosts the show tomorrow night. It's following the Bush Iraq speech. It will be a very important program. Watch it.
Watch now, "NEWSNIGHT," with Aaron Brown.
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