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Larry Kind Interviews Barbara Walters

Aired November 28, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, TV legend Barbara Walters and this time she'll answer some tough questions with her side of the story on the biggest stars. The one and only Barbara Walters for the hour is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It is always a great please, indeed an honor to have Barbara Walters on LARRY KING LIVE of ABC News, the host and co-executive producer of "Barbara Walters Presents: The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005." She's the creator as well and co-host and executive producer of ABC daytime's "The View."

This program, "The Ten Most Fascinating People" will air tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern on ABC and there's another one coming later in December about heaven. We'll ask about that later. How many years is this now for "The Most Fascinating People"?


KING: How did the idea come about?

WALTERS: Twelve years. You know I don't even know but it just -- we've been doing it for so long. It is a shame that you've never made the list, Larry.

KING: What do I have to do Barbara?

WALTERS: I think you've got to do, you know, it has to be -- we choose people who had great achievement in the particular year or done something particularly spectacular. Your problem is that you're good every year.

KING: Oh, I see.

WALTERS: So you have to do something, you know, really wild next year.

KING: Why don't we do a 15-year retrospective?

WALTERS: That would be OK.

KING: A conglomerate.

WALTERS: That would be OK.

KING: All right, define for your purposes the word fascinating. WALTERS: OK. We deliberately used fascinating and not necessarily the most newsworthy. We want people of achievement. That sounds sort of (INAUDIBLE). We also want it to be entertaining and we want people from different walks of life, show business and sports and law and so forth and they cannot be infamous. We do not want murderers, alleged murderers, et cetera but we want people who have done something that can be described as fascinating.

Probably the most fascinating, although we don't, you know, we don't number them, is Tom Cruise this year and this is the first interview that he has done since jumping over the couches and his little problem shall we say, maybe not problem, but his conversation with Matt Lahr.

But I mean this is the -- this is the second time we've done Tom Cruise and he is right now, whether you agree or disagree, fascinating and that was our criteria. Shall I run through the list or will that bore you?

KING: No, go.

WALTERS: OK, I'm going to go. Dakota Fanning, she is on for the very first time, 11 years old. This little girl is one of the top starts making $3 million a film, did two films last year. Every leading man wants to work with her and she is such a perfect little girl. She is so adorable and if she wouldn't you'd want to push a pie in her face because she's just wonderful.

OK, Kanye West, you know who he is. This is the rap star. He was on the cover of "Time" magazine, three Grammys, very controversial. This is the fellow who during Hurricane Katrina said "George Bush does not care about black people." His mother is a professor of English. She's now his manager. His father has two Master's degrees and he's doing rap. So, we liked him. He's cutting edge.

Tom Mesereau, you know who he is. He's been on your program, long white hair, down to his shoulders, who? He was the lawyer who won the case for Michael Jackson, probably the most interesting, fascinating trial of the year. We have Tom Mesereau.

Lance Armstrong, second time he's been on with us, seven times winner of the Tour de France and he's on with us here. Also, Sheryl Crow; Jamie Foxx won the Academy Award last year, gets bigger and bigger; Beth Holloway Twitty, the mother of Natalee Holloway, probably the most touching interview that we did, a woman determined to find out what happened with her daughter who became I think a -- who became our child, all of our child; Teri Hatcher, I don't have to tell you who she is what a year; Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's ratings go down, hers go up; as I said Tom Cruise. And then the most fascinating person we keep a secret and I don't think you'll ever guess who it is.

KING: More women than men?

WALTERS: I'd have to add them up, one, two, three, four, four out of nine, no probably more men than women.

KING: OK. Most fascinating means what did that person have to do? WALTERS: Something that was I guess original and a big accomplishment and done in the past year.


WALTERS: So, I mean it's a fairly broad list.

KING: Nobody infamous, so you won't do like "Time" magazine did Hitler as man of the year once?

WALTERS: No, no.

KING: Someone who had a profound effect. You wouldn't do Saddam Hussein?


KING: But if he gave you the interview would you do him?

WALTERS: Oh, I would do him for hours and hours and hours.

KING: But not for "The Ten Most Fascinating People"?

WALTERS: Oh, gee, Larry if he said "I will only" -- if Saddam Hussein called me and said "Listen, Barbara, the only program I want to be on is 'Ten Most Fascinating People,'" I'd say Saddam, OK. If that's what you want.

KING: The rule is broken.

WALTERS: I'll give you four or five minutes on the air, yes, who knows?

KING: How many months are you doing this? Do you start doing them in July?

WALTERS: Well that's a little too early because, you know, you really have to kind of -- we do them fairly late, later than I do most specials because you want to stay as close to the end of the year as possible because you don't know who else may come up or what they might do.

So, I don't think we really start until, oh like September and we just delivered the show. We're just sending it to the ABC executives. Oh, I think they get it today. If they don't like it, we're in big trouble. So, we try to keep it as close to the day as possible.

KING: Condoleezza Rice is not the first woman secretary of state is she...

WALTERS: She's the first female African American woman secretary of state but that's not why we chose her. We chose her because of what she has accomplished this past year. She's really had a stellar year and there's always this question about, well, will she possibly be a presidential candidate? And because she's also a very feminine woman, very talented woman she seemed like a good choice this year. Last year our most -- the fascinating person that we kept secret but a lot of people guessed it was Karl Rove and I mean we could almost have done him again this year. But, Condoleezza seemed like the right choice.

KING: Can you give me any hint about the most, any hint you can come up with?

WALTERS: Well, if you throw some things out I will say hot or cold.

KING: OK, man?

WALTERS: Well it has to be a man or a woman so I won't give you that.

KING: Right.

WALTERS: No, you got to be a little -- a little more imaginative than that one, OK.

KING: Political?

WALTERS: Political, no.

KING: Journalistic?


KING: Show business?

WALTERS: No that's as far as I'll go.

KING: It's not political. It's not journalistic. So, it's not Judy Miller. It's not Karl Rove again or anybody else in the administration and it's not...

WALTERS: I said you won't get it. We'll move on.

KING: It's not an actor and it's not a singer and it's not a thing, so it's someone who made news. It's a hurricane person. Well, we'll take a break, lots to talk about with Barbara Walters. The show airs tomorrow night, "Barbara Walters Presents" for the twelfth year in a row "The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005." We'll be right back.


WALTERS: Dakota, tell me something bad about yourself. Do you ever have a tantrum?


WALTERS: Do you ever answer your mum and dad back?

FANNING: No, not really.

WALTERS: Do you ever get punished for anything?

FANNING: Not too often I hope.

WALTERS: I wish I could find out that you were just a spoiled little brat. Promise me one day you'll be a spoiled little brat.

FANNING: I hope not but maybe I'll act in a part for you Barbara and I'll play a spoiled brat.

WALTERS: I hope so. I'll say that's the real Dakota.




WALTERS: This has been so fast with Katy. I mean you just met her last April. How do you know so fast?

TOM CRUISE: I just knew, you know. I really just knew. It was an explosion and she's just, she's magic and I really, I think that all men should celebrate their women. They should all jump on couches for women. I really -- when you find that woman you should absolutely be unabashed about it and that's how I feel about it.

WALTERS: That's so sweet.

CRUISE: So, I really mean it. I will forever be jumping on couches. And now we're going to have, you know, children it's beautiful.


KING: He appears quite happy.

WALTERS: Yes, I think he is happy.

KING: I like Tom a lot don't you?

WALTERS: Yes, I do. I think, you know, this is -- I know you've interviewed him many times. This is I think my third or fourth interview with him. This is a very nice man.

KING: Very.

WALTERS: Now you may agree or disagree with his views on Scientology or psychiatric drugs and so forth and, you know, we talked about that but he's a man who wants to do good. He is a sweet man. What interests me is that this was a man who was very private, Larry. Didn't you find him that way in the past pretty much?

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: You know and suddenly in this last year it's not just, you know, the exuberance of jumping off of the couch and he jumped over the couch on "The View." Joy Behar put a seat belt on him. But also the fact that he's decided to reveal for whatever reasons so much about himself and even this interview is so revealing. KING: He's also one of the hardest working actors.

WALTERS: And professional.

KING: He'll do a scene 50 times until he gets it right.

WALTERS: We went to the set of "Mission Impossible III" and I was watching one little scene where he supposedly got punched in the face and he did it again and again and again and he does all his own stunts.

He took me on a car ride racing. I kept saying to him "Put your hands on the wheel." He said, "I'm driving with my knees." But he does all of his own and I'm here to tell the story. He does all of his own stunts. He is totally professional. He produces this "Mission Impossible III" as well as acting in it. He's arguably the biggest male star I think in the world.

KING: It sounds like he should have been the most fascinating.

WALTERS: Yes but had he been the most fascinating, let's just talk ratings, OK, I wouldn't have been able to publicize him. He would have had to be the secret.

KING: Barbara, Barbara.

WALTERS: I wanted people to know that he was on, so I'm not -- the tenth person is not necessarily the most fascinating. It is a fascinating person we are keeping secret as an intrigue.

KING: Let's discuss some things in the news and then we'll go back. We'll be showing clips of many Barbara Walters interviews.


KING: It's always great to have her with us.

WALTERS: Thank you.

KING: What do you make of the drop in public attitude toward the president?

WALTERS: What do I make at it...

KING: It's been so quick.

WALTERS: that it's -- well, it really hasn't been that quick. I mean the whole business about the Iraq war and were we misled and I don't think that we would -- I don't think the president set out to deliberately mislead us.

I mean it seems that he did want to invade but I don't think he sat down and said, "I know the truth but I'm not going to tell people." I think that there may have been things that could have been weighed in a different direction but I don't think this man is a man who is deliberately misleading people but, you know, that's been boiling. And then, Hurricane Katrina, where the president seemed disengaged that was -- that was a terrible thing for him. And, of course, once everything starts to roll it gathers more and more, either more and more praise or more and more -- more and more difficulties. It's hard to believe that it's just a year since he was elected.

KING: And we...

WALTERS: If this were last year, what would have happened?

KING: We've lived through the Vietnam. Do you draw any equation with the public's perception of a war and turning?

WALTERS: Well, I think you can't help but make the comparison to a degree in that there is a growing desire to get the -- to get the troops home but, you know, if you remember "Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many men have you killed today," I mean, you know, it was -- there were demonstrations all over this country.

It has bee much more temperate. Yes, we hear about it and, yes, there are people who are very upset and, yes, there is more and more but we haven't had the massive demonstrations that we had during Vietnam, which did seem to be such a, you know, such a hopeless war.

Here we have to worry about -- well we had to worry about then what happens if we withdraw but we pretty much knew what was going to happen. Here there is that fear, you know, are we better? Are we worse? What do we do now?

Everybody agrees that things should have been handled in a different way and I think most of the politicians who are being perhaps a little wiser are saying, "OK, let's not look back and let's not try to figure out why they didn't do this and why they didn't do that and why they let the officers, the Sunni officers go and why they didn't plan for electricity and why they didn't plan for water and so forth.

Let's try to think what do we do and, if we leave and when we leave, what then can we possibly do to prevent what, a civil war, to prevent Iran from using their influence so that it becomes an adjunct of Iran? What are the next steps we do?" And that's where there seems to be debate and no answer, maybe not enough debate.

KING: We'll take a break. When we come back we'll ask about Condoleezza Rice, who is one of her "Ten Most Fascinating People" and if Barbara thinks she might try for the top run. Don't go away.


WALTERS: I'm amazed when I talk to you. I know it's a cliche. How much Terri is like Susan?

TERI HATCHER: Oh, really?


HATCHER: Yes. WALTERS: Don't you think?

HATCHER: I'm just not that good of an actress. They're just crap. I just finally found a role that actually is me.



KING: We're back with Barbara Walters. She's the host and co- executive producer of "Barbara Walters Presents: The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005" that airs tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern. In a little while we'll ask about another special coming, which is fascinating in and of itself. It's about heaven.

Condy Rice, I know you and I know you must have asked her about presidential hopes. What did she say?

WALTERS: Well, you know, she's been asked a lot. I mean Tim Russert asked. George Stephanopoulos asked. She says no and I'm sort of saying it that way because she doesn't say "No matter what I close the door" but she says that she has no intention of running.

But, you know, it's interesting because we are now seeing the bubbling of other candidates, I mean Condoleezza Rice versus Hillary Clinton. I mean people say, wow, wouldn't that be a race?

I went to a lunch today for a man named Mark Warner, who is the governor of Virginia, a very attractive fellow.

KING: Very.

WALTERS: Well he's testing the waters to see if he could -- he's a Democrat -- to see if he might run opposite, not opposite but to be a candidate in the Democratic Party.

I heard Joe Biden yesterday saying he's testing the waters. We hear the Democrats testing waters. We haven't heard that much about the Republicans testing waters.

But, Condoleezza is a very smart woman. She is certainly not going to say now yes or no and even though that's very intriguing as to what she might do, what she has accomplished so far she has been an extremely effective secretary of state, especially, Larry, look what she has done within the last weeks with Ariel Sharon, you know, getting the kind of agreement that she did on Gaza, you know. She's been, without being shrill, she's really been a very effective secretary of state.

KING: But never run for political office. We don't know what kind of candidate she would be.

WALTERS: No. I'm trying to think who else do we know who has never run for political office? You know we know most of the time it's been governors who have emerged as presidential candidates but I'm sure that if we looks things up there might be... KING: One would think that Condoleezza Rice...

WALTER: ...someone who has not.

KING: ...would be an ideal vice presidential choice.

WALTERS: All right, then who would your -- who would your president -- if we're playing games who would your presidential, Republican presidential?

KING: Well, the polls say, the polls say that Giuliani was the only one leading who would beat Hillary. Every other one is behind her. But I don't think he could get the nomination do you being pro choice?

WALTERS: But we don't know what -- but we don't know really with the Republican Party we don't know how much it is changing. I mean there are other people who say it would be John McCain but that he couldn't get it because there are drawbacks.

You know, we still have three more years and I think a lot can happen. A lot can happen in this country. One of the -- you talked about the forthcoming special that we're doing and it's called "Heaven, where is it and how do we get there?" And one of the people that we talked with and you've probably talked with him too is Reverend Ted Haber (ph) of the Evangelical Church.

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: And that's the fastest growing church I believe in America, so on the one hand you have a very conservative view. On the other hand you have possible candidates, like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, who are far less conservative and it depends on how much the Republicans want to win.

Are they willing to sacrifice some of their views, their very strong views, especially in Roe v. Wade and some of the other social issues in order to have a winning candidate? We don't know that yet.

KING: Is Hillary to you a lock if she fought for it to get the nomination?

WALTERS: She's been a terrific Senator and she's been very smart in keeping in a sense a low profile. On the other hand, coming out on issues that are very important and I think people are extremely impressed with her.

There again, she probably could get the nomination. Can she win the election? Is there still enough -- is she still so controversial that she would not be a candidate in some of the states that don't like her or that didn't like her husband? I think this kind of guessing game three years in advance is sort of fun at dinner parties but we got a long way to go.

KING: Yes, we all play it.

WALTERS: Yes, yes we do. KING: Before we get back to "The Ten Most Fascinating People" and other things, tell me about this...

WALTERS: By the way, I think Hillary was once one of our most fascinating people.

KING: I'm sure she was.

WALTERS: Really.

KING: I wasn't but she was.

WALTERS: Last year I think, last year.

KING: I wasn't.


KING: But it's all right Barbara, it's OK.

WALTERS: Throw your hat in the ring. Run for something.

KING: I got to do something. I got to do something crazy. No, you can't be infamous, so you got to do something, right, you can't be infamous?

WALTERS: Something wonderfully strong and brave that's what you have to do.

KING: Wonderfully strong and -- in other words, if I rescued someone in a dramatic thing right?

WALTERS: That would help, especially if you rescued Angelina Jolie.


WALTERS: Then I tell you, Larry...

KING: We'd both be on.

WALTERS: You'd be on.

KING: We'll take a break and when we come back we'll talk with Barbara Walters about the heaven special. Don't go away.


WALTERS: You had some very harsh words to say about George W. Bush. "George Bush doesn't care about black people."


WALTERS: Do you think what you said then you still feel today?

WEST: I spoke from -- I spoke from my heart and I stand by my statement. (END VIDEO CLIP)



RICHARD GERE: I don't think necessarily heaven and hell happen in some other life. I think it's right now and we see beings that are intoxicated with anger and hatred and, you know, people here that have incredible peace and generosity and compassion. That's heaven.

WALTERS: Are you in heaven?

GERE: No, but I know people who are in heaven.


KING: That's from a forthcoming special that airs December 20th on ABC, "Heaven, where is it, how do we get there"? That, of course, was Richard Gere. Tell me about the genesis of this idea.

WALTERS: Well, I mean I hope "The Ten Most Fascinating People" I think it's an enormously interesting and entertaining program so, you know, that's where I am right now. But this heaven program is two hours long. It's very rare that a network gives you two hours for a program and I've never been as excited or captivated.

We were sitting around last year trying to think of something we could, you know, that we could do that would maybe not be movie stars and so forth and we see the country becoming as we become more technically oriented we become more spiritual.

And we said everybody is interested in heaven. Ninety-five percent of this population believes that there is a heaven. Eighty-five percent according to polls believe they're going to get there.

And so we took that (AUDIO GAP) and we talked to leaders all over the world about their view on heaven from the Dalai Lama. We went to Dharamsala where the Dalai Lama lives to hear what the Tibetan Buddhists feel about heaven. Richard Gere, who is a disciple, you heard him talk about it.

We went to cardinals. We went to Muslim leaders. We went to a high security prison in Israel to talk to a would-be suicide bomber. He, a) wanted to kill Israelis; but, b) he wants to go to paradise. He's sure he's going to go to paradise, 72 virgins await him and, I, he told me will not go to paradise because I'm not a Muslim.

We went to the evangelicals. We went to atheists. We went to the people who felt they had died and gone to heaven. So, we've been working on this for over a year. And I just think it is one of the most interesting projects that I've ever worked on.

And I think people -- I don't want to overuse that word fascinating,, but what do we all want to know? We want to know is there life after death? Where do we go? Is there going to be sex in heaven? Are we going to see our loved ones?

KING: Did you get any answers?

WALTERS: In the Muslim religion, there is sex in heaven. Note the 72 virgins, which is not a number per say. The Imam said it is like saying hundreds and hundreds. It is an infinite number.

In the Catholic religion, there's not sex. But you're going to see your loved one. You don't need to have sex everything is so wonderful there.

I learned so much. I had never had a religious education. And this was something that was personal. We have Mitch Albo on, you know, who wrote "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."

Maria Shriver, she hopes to meet her cousins, her grandmother, Rose Kennedy. She wrote a book about heaven.

KING: But did you come up with answers for you?

WALTERS: That's, I think, the toughest thing. I'll tell you my idea. Can I tell you my idea of hell instead of my idea of heaven?

KING: Sure.

WALTERS: Hell is -- OK. I'm sure you've gone through this. Hell is you finish, especially a special like this, which has to be somewhat, you know, more than a little controversial.

You finish, you think you've done such a good job. It airs, and then someone says to you, did you think to ask thus and such? And you think, that's the question I should have asked. That's my idea of hell.

KING: That's hell.

Why do you think we are more spiritual?

WALTERS: Because I think that we are in a world that is more and more difficult to understand. I think because the more we know in a technical sense, the more we are curious about spiritual values, the more we question our own values and our children.

It seems that more than ever before, we need answers. Look at "The Da Vinci Code." I mean that's a rather complicated book to read. But because it gives us some view of a religious experience, as well as a great plot, it has become a best seller.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven," month after month after month, there is an urgent need for some kind of spiritual understanding. And what we did here in an investigative way and in some cases quite funny, we have Jackie mason on.

Did you know that Jackie Mason, the comedian, is a rabbi?

KING: I knew it. His father was a rabbi. His uncle was a cantor.

WALTERS: Yes, yes.

Wait until you hear of his idea of heaven. And the Dalai Lama, for example, they don't, he doesn't--I'm making this very simple. But, you know, he says--we talked about what the purpose of life is. And the purpose of life to the Dalai Lama is to find happiness.

And you find happiness through compassion and warm heartedness. And they believe in reincarnation. So we talked to him about that. Can you come back as a dog, as a good dog, a bad dog? I mean, there was so many different areas to explore.

KING: Sounds like you are as excited about this one, a two-hour special, you don't get two hours from a network much, as you said.

WALTERS: It is sort of difficult. Because tomorrow night's special is totally different and very entertaining and provocative. This one is something that I hope will -- oh, I don't know, you know, maybe have some effect and maybe help some people and certainly interest on something that can be an evergreen.

KING: That airs December 20th. It sure can.

When we come back, we'll ask Barbara Walters more about the ten most fascinating people and also about the changes at Nightline and Ted Koppel's leaving the network. Don't go away.


WALTERS (voice over): Buddhists believe that after we die, we are born again and again. Living many different lifetimes.

(on-camera): The better you behave on earth, the better your next life will be?


WALTERS: And the worse you behave on earth, the worse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you behave well, remain compassionate person, then your future destination is heaven. If you do negative thing, harm another, create pains on other...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then the future is...

WALTERS: Is hell?





TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: I don't have a film after "Mission: Impossible."

WALTERS: That's a good time to get married.

CRUISE: Yes. We're going to get married next summer or early fall.

WALTERS: Next summer or early fall?



KING: Got that. Good news, Barbara.

What else you want to add about that car scene? Were you going to add something about Mr. Cruise?

WALTERS: No, I tell you what I did want to mention because it's been written about or talked about a lot, and that is that Tom Cruise was talking about the birth of his baby.

And I said, is it a boy or a girl? And he said he didn't know. But then he said that he had purchased a sonogram machine. He added to us later that he was having medical technicians teach him how to use it.

And he has been using it with his fiancee Katie Holmes. He'll eventually give it to a hospital. But that he would buy a sonogram machine so that he could look at this baby in the womb. I mean...

KING: But he doesn't want to know?

WALTERS: Doesn't everyone?

Well, he--the thing that I kept saying you mean, you're using the sonogram machine. You see the fetus. You see the baby. But you don't know whether it's a boy or a girl?

And he said no, if I did, I would tell you. And, you know, Larry, if he did, he would tell me. Because Tom Cruise is very forthright. But I mean it is one or the...

KING: Maybe he doesn't know how to read a sonogram.

WALTERS: Oh, I don't know.

KING: There's one way to tell. It's either there or it isn't.

WALTERS: Well, I won't go into that, thank you so much. But anyway, he's looking.

KING: All right. Back to this Nightline story. What do you make first of Ted's leaving? WALTERS: OK. Well, you know, Ted has talked about leaving. They want to do Nightline live. They want to kind of give it a new face and a new excitement.

And from what I understand, and I can't speak for Ted, but he didn't want to do it live. And I think he had a little bit of a blow a few years ago when there was some question of his being replaced by David Letterman.

It was very interesting. The last night of his program, which was so low key, where he revisited Morrie, you know, "Tuesdays with Morrie." That was his last program.

He didn't do a retrospective the way so many of us do. The way I did when I left 20/20. Here's when I did this and here's when I did that. He just repeated a program, and then he talked a little bit about it.

And then at the end he said--he talked about all of the different anchors, who young people don't remember. He said I have a quiz. Do you remember this one, Eric Sevareid? No. "Do you remember so and so?" No. They sort of vaguely remembered Walter Cronkite. "Do you remember Chet Huntley and David Brinkley?" No.

So, what he was saying was anchors come and go, and please give these new folks a chance, Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran and Martin Bashir. And then he said, "because if not, the network will put on an entertainment program and you'll be sorry."

So his feelings about news and I guess, his feelings of being hurt, came out in those last words. I am very fond of Ted. We are extremely good friends. I call him Teddy, and said, when are you going to get a late night program?

And he calls me, hello witch, except he starts it with a "B." But we have known each other and been good friends for many years. Ted is just fine. He's had all kinds of other offers. He is so -- almost more than anybody else in this business, he is so much his own person. He negotiates his own contract. He is doing what he wants to do. And I will miss him but...

KING: We know he's going to do specials for HBO.

WALTERS: ... that's a...

KING: I think that's a given.

WALTERS: ... in conversation, well, you know, someone hears. He may do a column. You know, Ted is not going to just walk into the sunset. But on the other hand, he's not going to have the same schedule. But he hasn't had this tougher schedule for the last few years. He's been trying to kind of slow down, cut down.

KING: How well do you think the new show will do?

WALTERS: Oh, I think they have terrific people. And I think they're trying to revitalize the show. ABC aims for younger audience all the time. All the networks do. You don't have that problem, but we do.

And these are very good, very good people, Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Martin Bashir, they'll have good, strong stories. Terry Moran right now is in Baghdad covering the Saddam Hussein trial. And I think, you know, let's give it a chance. There are not that many programs like that on the air anymore.

KING: Do you know about format? They don't have three anchors for a half-hour show?

WALTERS: Well no, but I can't speak for it, but I think maybe Cynthia will be in New York, Terry will be traveling more, Martin will do special reports. I don't think they're going to have a triumvirate sitting at the desk, after you no, no after you, no after you.

KING: It starts tonight?

WALTERS: It starts tonight.

KING: The critics will be ready with pen in hand, will they not, Barbara?

WALTERS: Well, they should give them a chance. Because what Ted talked about was that when Tom Shales of "The Washington Post," who is a brilliant critic, one of the best in the country.

He slammed the show the first night. Then Ted said, give us a chance. So, wait a few weeks. When he came back a few weeks later, he praised the show. So, you know, these shows have to build. You know, how long have you and I been on the air, building and building?

KING: Still building.

WALTERS: But you're built, you're there.

KING: And Tom agreed, right. He came back and wrote a rave. Tom Shales, to his credit.

WALTERS: He came back and wrote a rave.

KING: Back with more of Barbara Walters. Wow, she's got a busy December, November into December. Tomorrow night with the fascinating people and late in December with the heaven show. Don't go away.


WALTERS: What do you think happened to your daughter?

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF MISSING GIRL: I know one thing for sure, that these three suspects, they took my daughter and raped her. And what they did with her after that, Barbara, I don't know.

WALTERS: Mrs. Twitty, do you think your daughter is alive?

TWITTY: My biggest hope is that she has only been kidnapped, raped, drugged and kept, against her will. That's our best outcome.



KING: That was so much fun. Any time you go on "The View."

WALTERS: Hey, has anybody given -- that was on "The View." You're singing to me with your beautiful wife, who does sing. Has anybody asked you to come on the Broadway stage and repeat that song?

KING: Not as yet. Except, I'm waiting for 2006 when I will be one of the most fascinating people by making my Broadway debut.

WALTERS: OK, you do it and you'll be on. That was such fun. I thank you, dear.

KING: Present company excluded, take a step back. Why does "The View" do so well?

WALTERS: You know, it's the chemistry of those people. Because many other programs have tried to emulate it. There was a male, Dick Clark did a male version of "The View."

I hear that Bravo is putting people on at one point. NBC, I think tried to do it following "The Today Show." You can't just take four people or five people, we are, and say, OK, we're going to have one young, one a little older, one African-American, one married.

From day one, three out of the four people just clicked. And the chemistry of it. And the fact that it's live, that it's outrageous, that you never know what you're going to hear, that it is different opinions. I never thought it would be on this long. I mean, what are we now, nine years, ten years?

KING: And this was your baby right? You conceived this?

WALTERS: Yes, it was, but I don't -- I'd like to tell you how brilliant I am. The one who really is responsible for so much of it is the man we call "The Viewmaster" who sits there with his poker face, Bill Getty.

He makes that show work. Bill, by the way, is the executive producer of "Ten Most Fascinating People." So you know it has to be good. But what happened was that the network came to us because we've been doing these specials and they were successful. And 11:00 in the morning, 10:00 on the West Coast was a death period.

You know, the women had finished -- they'd done their morning chores, they were going to go out and pick up the kids. Who was watching television? So they -- you know, what could they lose? And they said, do you have any ideas for a show?

And I said, because I remembered I used to think the best part of "This Week," the Sunday show was when David Brinkley had his panel, which was new then. Then there was a wonderful woman called Virginia Graham, who did a show called "Girl Talk," where

KING: I loved her.

WALTERS: .. they just came on and blabbered. And I thought, put them together. So, I said, I have this idea for a show, just like that. Different women, different generations, just live and talking about news, hot topics.

From that we thought it was going to be a half hour. It grew to an hour. We auditioned all kinds of people. This was the first group we saw. We thought, too good to be true. Be went back to them and that was the group.

KING: Virginia Graham was some kind of lady. She's been forgotten, that's a shame. She was a terrific host.

WALTERS: Well, I'm glad I was able to bring her to life again.

KING: How is life now, Barbara? You're working less, right? Although you wouldn't guess it by December.

WALTERS: No, you wouldn't guess it by December. This has been a very busy fall. And I do The View two days a week.

But I tell you what I can do. I can go away and spend four days with my daughter and not worry about, oh, my goodness, I've got to have something on 20/20.

I could do this heaven special where I traveled really all over the world. I would have never been able to do something like that. I'm taking a trip right after the new year. I'm going to Chile.

And I can have a little time for myself in spurts without week in week out. Larry, I don't have to tell you what that's like. I mean, you do it all the time.

But on 20/20 there was such a--what's the big get? Can Barbara get the big get? Can she get it before Diane? Can she get it before Oprah? I like Diane. I like Oprah. I hated that with rare exceptions. I don't have to do that anymore.

KING: But you were tough, though. I mean, you were a go getter to get the get, right? And you got involved?

WALTERS: I think yes, I did. Because the name of the game was get the get. And that's very tough. That's very tough to do.

And if I had continued on the program, I couldn't have just done, I mean, the program's changed. It is a very, very good program with Elizabeth Vargas, who is wonderful, and John Stossel, but they do a lot of themes.

And they do -- it is much more just the stories that touch your lives. A little less get the get, get the get. And also I've been doing it for 25 years. And you and I have talked about that because you will do it for another 25 years. And I really thought that was enough. And I wanted to leave on top. I wanted to leave before they said, you know, we don't want her anymore.

Whatever, maybe they wouldn't have said that. But I wanted to leave really at I thought a very good time. And I told no one except David Weston. I didn't tell anybody at Disney. I announced it to one reporter.

And most everybody found out when it was in the papers. I just didn't want it to go on and on. I thought that was the best way.

KING: You're a class act. We'll come back with our remaining moments with Barbara Walters. The special airs tomorrow night. Don't go away.


WALTERS: What are you proudest of? Being the greatest cyclist in the world?


WALTERS: Or beating cancer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm proudest of being a cancer survivor. Absolutely. I mean by a factor of 100.



KING: What was that all about?

WALTERS: That was on The View. See, I have time to take dance lessons. Because the dance was such a craze this year, dancing. So I learned with a wonderful teacher, two teachers, Melanie (ph) and Tony (ph).

And I did the tango a few months ago, and then I did the salsa. Hey, you know...

KING: Hey, you were great.

WALTERS: ...I have time to do these things, and I can relax a little bit.

By the way, speaking of relaxing a little bit, I'm going to be co-hosting tomorrow with Robin Roberts and Charlie, Charlie Gibson. I'm going to be co-hosting Good Morning America. Diane has a day off. So you know, I'm going to, you know...

KING: Kill. Tomorrow morning?

WALTERS: ...when this program is over, I'm going to go to bed. Tomorrow morning. KING: Get a little more promotion. You never quit, Barbara. You never quit.

WALTERS: Well, couldn't hurt. Couldn't hurt, as we say.

KING: Speaking of promotion, what do you make of this return of Martha Stewart, who is everywhere?

WALTERS: Well, you know, I talked about Diane and Oprah. And there's always all this talk about competition, competition. But they are two absolutely terrific women.

And I feel the same way about Martha Stewart. I went to visit Martha when she was in prison. I did two major interviews with Martha. So did you. And I like Martha a lot.

And Martha's program in New York and in some other cities is opposite The View, which is a very funny feeling for both of us. But, you know, our friendship has remained. I haven't seen her very much. She's pretty busy.

But I'm happy for her. She paid her dues. She had a nightmare of a year. And, you know, I want good things to happen to her. I don't want them to be so good that she beats The View, that wonderful a person I'm not.

By the way, after I interviewed the Dalai Lama, for about three days I was a wonderful person. I thought no evil. I had nothing but compassion. I had very little ambition for about three days.

KING: Until you ran into this one cab driver, and then -- what do you make of Donald Trump criticizing Martha and the whole apprentice show scene?

WALTERS: But that's Donald. You know, Donald -- part of Donald's great charm is this kind of, you know, striking out from the hip. That's part of what Donald does.

It may not be, you know--you may not do it because you have a very different attitude. And you try to be as kind as you possibly can while asking the good questions.

But that's Donald. And, you know, there's no one like Donald. He's an original. You know, that's a tough -- I don't know, maybe it was a bad idea to have two apprentice shows, you know, on successive nights.

Television is so hard but, you know, you don't -- I'm trying, as I said, whether it's the Dalai Lama or my life now, because I'm really in a , you know, very good place.

I think the less we can hurt people, the better it is for all of us. You know?

KING: Still a little Dalai Lama in you there, Barbara.

WALTERS: There's a little Dalai Lama.

KING: Still a little Dalai Lama.

WALTERS: There's a little Dalai Lama.

KING: Hello Dalai.

WALTERS: There's a little Dalai. Hello Dalai, but there's still a little fight left. If I can find the road in between, that will be sensational.

KING: When the show is on tomorrow night, you've already seen it, will you watch it again?

WALTERS: I will watch it again--yes, of course, I've seen every piece because Bill and I go through, and Bill and Brad and Jen and Betsy, I'm just going to throw all the names out. But there's something, you know, and then you have to cut this piece down, and that and that.

There's something about seeing it when it's actually on the air.

KING: Yes. You're right.

WALTERS: That is exciting, you know.

KING: Barbara you are always a delight. Good luck on Good Morning America tomorrow. We'll look forward to seeing you.

And tomorrow night Barbara Walters presents the 10 most fascinating people of 2005 it's on 10:00 eastern on ABC.

Congratulations again, Barbara. Keep on keeping on.

Barbara Walters, what a lady.

Tomorrow night on this program, Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends. Hey, it's a lonely life. Hugh Hefner and girlfriends tomorrow night.

And now back in New Orleans, which is like second home to him, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360"--Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper live in New Orleans a city, which is still reeling from three months ago from Hurricane Katrina. It is the three-month anniversary of the storm striking, and if you thought this city was back on its feet think again.


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