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Severe Weather; Interview With Marie Osmond; Interview With Billy Ray Cyrus

Aired May 10, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, fire wind and floods -- severe weather is wrecking havoc from coast to coast.
Raging wildfires in the Hollywood Hills and in drought-stricken Florida. Floodwaters rise in Missouri right after those deadly tornadoes.

We're live at these scenes of devastation.

And we've got the latest on the first named storm of the year weeks ahead of the hurricane season.

And then Marie Osmond opening up about her recent divorce, about Paris Hilton going to jail and Reverend Al Sharpton's controversial comments about her fellow Mormon, presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

And then Billy Ray Cyrus in his first prime time interview since he got booted off "Dancing With The Stars."


BRUNO TONIOLI: Well, I love him like anybody else.


TONIOLI: But it was terrible. It was crap.




BILL RAY CYRUS: Bruno calling me crap is the pot calling the kettle black.


KING: Now, the war of the words continues.


CYRUS: My dad told me a long time ago as a little boy and I've always tried to remember, the more you stop and crap, the more it stinks.


KING: Good evening.

Scary, destructive weather all over the country and we're on location with the latest.

Ted Rowlands is in Los Angeles, where the Griffith Park fire has been raging for two days.

While this just in -- there's a new wildfire on nearby Santa Catalina Island.

CNN's Jacqui Jeras, part of the greatest weather team on television, is in Taylor, Florida, where they're battling a huge wildfire.

Ed Lavandera is covering the floods in Tracy, Missouri.

And CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano, also with our great weather team, is in New York watching it all develop.

But first, let's go up in the sky to Johnny McCool.

He's the helicopter reporter for KTLA.

He's over Santa Catalina Island.

What can you tell us, Johnny?

JOHNNY MCCOOL, KTLA CHOPPER REPORTER: Well, Larry, this is a live look outside this helicopter. We are over Santa Catalina Island right now. This is a fire that started about 12:30 this afternoon. This fire continues to burn out of control. It's headed eastbound, directly for the small town of Avalon.

Right now, firefighters from Camp Pendleton are in hovercraft headed here as quickly as possible. They have L.A. County Fire helicopters, L.A. City Fire, ground crews, as well as water tankers from the California Department of Forestry.

Right now, there's small, mandatory evacuations going on on the west side of the city of Avalon. But right now no structures are threatened.

The biggest problem is tankers are trying their best to get underneath the smoke to make these drops and protect their homes.

But this fire continues to burn out of control in an easterly direction, this small community directly in its path.

KING: Thanks, Johnny.

Stay loose.

Two major songs, by the way, about Santa Catalina and one about Avalon. Let's go to Rob Marciano, our CNN meteorologist, in New York.

First of all, are these fires weather affected?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, fires are always weather affected, Larry.

What's been going on across Southern California is it's been exceedingly dry during the wettest time of the year. They typically get their -- most of their rain during winter months and they barely got anything this year.

They measure rainfall beginning in July and then it -- it ramps up as you head toward, say, Christmas, January and February.

And so far, in the past nine months, at the L.A. Basin, they've only seen a little over three inches of rain. That's more than a foot below what they normally would see.

So if we head at this pace, Larry, this is going to be the driest season on record across Southern California. And that's number one ingredient -- you dry out the land and all you need is a spark and it goes up in flames. And that's what we're seeing right now.

KING: Let's go round and round and check everywhere.

Jacqui Jeras what's going on in Taylor, Florida?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, this fire has just exploded here today, Larry.

We had about 28,000 acres which were burned when we got here this morning and now we're hearing word that it's probably somewhere between 60,000 and 7,0000 acres. So the fire has spread very dramatically.

The town of Taylor has been evacuated. There are several other towns nearby that are at risk. And we could see more evacuations as we head toward the weekend.

We have a drought here, too. Rob was talking about maybe a foot of a deficit there in California. We're looking at a deficit between 18 and 26 inches of rainfall here. No real rain in the forecast.

The other big problem has been the winds. And believe it or not, that is related to our subtropical depression off the shore there. We were hoping that thing could come in, bring a little bit of rain into the area. Unfortunately, no rain has been brought here with it. And it brought some extremely strong winds. Winds this afternoon were gusting between 35 and 40 miles per hour, and that just helps to fan those flames and really spread this fire.

You -- you know, when we drove here this afternoon, it was amazing how far away you could see that fire. And, also, the other thing that really stood out was that the grass was so brown. Normally, you know, I've visited Florida so many times in the past and everything looks so beautiful and green and lush. And this was a yellowy brown that we were seeing on the grass. And even the trees looked awfully dry.

KING: Jim Durrwachter is also in Taylor, Florida.

He's a firefighter, operation sextant chief of the Bugaboo fire.

Can you tell us, Jim, what the situation is there?

Are any of your men hurt?

JIM DURRWACHTER, OPERATIONAL SEXTANT CHIEF: No, sir. We have no -- no injuries at all to report. We've been very fortunate for that. We've made sure we've had communications with everybody to make sure we knew where everybody was at the whole time.

KING: The situation right now is what?

DURRWACHTER: This afternoon, approximately about 2:30 in the afternoon, the fire made a major run. We had Andrea sitting off the coast out here. And she started pumping in some strong winds and some drier humidities. We were getting 20, 25 miles an hour winds.

And what it did was take the fire that we had that was kind of docile, if you can believe that, but turned it into a big, big storm right now. It has actually run seven to eight miles within the last four or five hours. It's running a little over a mile an hour.

So, it's spotting itself out in front of it. Fires are spotting out in front of that thing from three quarters to a mile out in front of that.

So the problems that we've had trying to keep it in control anywhere in on the forest here or anywhere on the lands, we got lines put in or are just not happening at all.

KING: Andrea, by the way, the first storm of the season. It's early. They don't begin, usually, until June.

Out to California. Ted Rowlands is in Griffith Park.

What's the latest there?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, thankfully this fire is now 100 percent contained. It threatened homes and some landmarks here in Los Angeles, including the Griffith Park Observatory. But today the L.A. Fire Department gave the announcement that everybody was waiting for, that it was 100 percent contained.

Last -- or two nights ago -- it was a real scare. There was a real problem because of all of the dry brush here in Southern California. They are expecting this to be just the latest in a long, long summer ahead. And fires -- Mother Nature, which created this problem, actually helped them out here in the end and helped save those -- those homes, along with the L.A. County Fire Department. But...

KING: And a...

ROWLANDS: But it's all clear right now -- go ahead.

KING: Thanks, Ted.

In our next segment, we'll go back to Ted.

We'll also check with Craig Frye, the battalion chief of the L.A. Fire Department.

Let's go to Missouri.

Ed Lavandera is our CNN correspondent in Tracy, Missouri.

What's the story there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here, Larry, the good news is that at least the Rivers don't appear to be rising as much anymore, where officials throughout the northwest portion of this state say that many of the Rivers will have crested either by late tonight or some time by midmorning.

This is the Platte River you see behind me, which dumps into the Missouri River. And it is the system of rivers throughout this por -- the northwest portion of the state -- which caused so many problems, mostly in rural and farm land. But there are, in many small towns, hundreds of homes that have been at least partially submerged by -- by the water.

The Missouri River cuts from down along the western part of Missouri from Kansas City all the way across the state into St. Louis and into the Mississippi River over there.

So all of this water has to make its way that way. And it will take days, if not weeks, for all of this to dissipate throughout the state.

KING: And let's go to Ken Reeves in State College, Pennsylvania, senior meteorologist with, Accuweather's director of forecasting operations.

Did you see all this coming?


Actually, this type of activity is really not all that uncommon at this time of the year. Certainly, fires across the entire United States burn -- in the last three years -- have burned anywhere from eight million to 10 million acres each of the last three years.

Subtropical storms at this time of the year are not all that common. This one actually was producing nasty winds up further along the coast even before it was classified as Andrea. But we knew all along that dry air was really wrapped into it and it was going to end up being more concern for the fires, from the standpoint of the wind, rather than providing in he leaf from the rain.

And what's going on out in Griffith Park, actually, back in 1933 there was actually a fire which killed 29 people.

So these kinds of things aren't unusual this time of the year, but certainly all of them together are producing some interesting weather across the country.

KING: When we come back, we'll check in with everybody again.

Also, we'll begin with Craig Frye, who is the battalion chief, L.A. Fire Department.

Don't go away


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire is laying down. It punched through a bunch of the trees right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut your doors.





KING: We're back.

Joining us at Griffith Park is Craig Frye.

He is the battalion chief, L.A. Fire Department.

Firefighters took cover under a bridge while a huge wall of flames went over the bridge.

How are they doing, Craig?


It was a pretty close call for them. They tried to make a wrong stand on that bridge and it almost cost them. And we're lucky and fortunate we had those helicopters that were come -- able to come in and make that water drop on them and really save them.

KING: Craig, now this -- what's the difference between, from a firefighter's standpoint, between fighting this and, say, a house fire?

FRYE: In a house fire, it's pretty predictable. You're going to be able to go in and you're going be able to really judge and make your -- take your actions based on what the fire is doing in there.

When we're dealing with brush fires, there are so many elements that come into making your decisions, where are you going to put yourself and really what's going to -- we're really at nature's beckoning there.

With this situation, what had happened was they saw the main front of the fire coming at them. They thought they were in a safe position when the wind shifted on them and threw embers down below them. And it then became a terrain driven fire and it really came up and got them in an area that almost cost them their lives.

KING: Wow!

Give them our best.

FRYE: Yes.

KING: Johnny McCool of KTLA...

FRYE: OK. I sure will.

KING: Thanks, Craig -- he's up in the sky in his helicopter.

I understand that on that fire on the island they're asking people to move closer to the beach.

Is that what you hear, Johnny?

MCCOOL: Yes, they do have some mandatory evacuations going on on the west side of Avalon here. This is a shot of one of the California Department of Forestry tankers that dropped the FOS check. They're trying to get underneath the smoke.

It was amazing. We got here a little bit after 1:30 this afternoon and this fire, being fuelled by winds out of west, was headed directly for Avalon.

It's been amazing to see how many agencies from the California Department of Forestry, L.A. City Fire, as well as the L.A. County Fire, have been showing up here.

We're also hearing word that there are firefighters, as well as fire trucks, from Camp Pendleton en route now to try to protect the small town of Avalon, that is directly in the path of this fire.

KING: Yes, Avalon is the principle city there at Catalina.

Jacqui Jeras in Taylor, Florida, how are Floridians reacting to this early storm?

JERAS: Well, a lot of people are talking about it. I think it has people worried that this could be a sign, perhaps, of more things to come. However, that's not the case. Just because we have a subtropical or a tropical system this early has no bearing on what we can see for the rest of the season. But people are talking about it. A lot of people asking should they cancel their vacations, should they not go to the beach.

Of course, the surfers want to get out there and get in some of the big waves. But the rip currents are so very strong, it's dangerous. We did have -- in New Smyrna Beach, one surfer was killed yesterday from going out into the water.

So the biggest impact that this has really had on Floridians overall has been the strong winds associated with it and some of the beach erosion that's happened along the shore lines.

KING: Ed Lavandera in Tracy, Missouri, have people returned to their homes?

LAVANDERA: Yes. In this particular area there were very few homes that were -- that were affected, although it is getting very dangerously close to several of them. So many people standing here along the banks of the Platte River, which is normally just a small little river. And it is now more than a quarter of a mile wide. Just a lot of people out here just watching and seeing what this river will be doing, very anxious to see it start -- the levels here to start dropping.

KING: How is the Missouri National Guard doing?

LAVANDERA: There have been, I think, 100 or so of those Guardsmen that have been called up and been helping out in various areas of the state, mostly with sandbagging, and, also, traffic control. There have been so many roads that have been cut off and taken over by -- by creeks and tributaries, that many roads been covered up, like this one you see behind me. This is actually a road that should cut straight across here.

So they're -- the Guardsmen have been helping out in helping out in -- helping out in those kinds of situations, making sure people don't drive into this.

KING: Rob Marciano, this early tropical storm in Florida indicates what to you?

MARCIANO: Well, it indicates that we have an early tropical storm. But we had one last year in first week of June, or the first and second week of June, Alberto. And everybody got all fired up thinking, oh my goodness, it's going to be another crazy year.

But, historically -- and Jacqui kind of mentioned this -- when you get a storm early in the season, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to get an active season. That's certainly what we -- what we saw last year.

These subtropical storms getting in before the season starts is not uncommon. We've had them as early as January. Full on tropical systems we've had as early as Ground Hog Day, on February 2nd.

So it can happen. It happens every three or four years. I think we had one in April back in 2003. So let's not be too alarmist in saying that the world's going to come to an end this -- this hurricane season.

KING: Thank you all very much -- Rob Marciano, Jacqui Jeras John Durrwachter, Johnny McCool up in the sky, Ted Frye, Ed Lavandera and Ken Reeves.

Outstanding reporting tonight, by the way.

It's the best weather team in television.

Up next, Marie Osmond gets personal and political.

We'll hear from her on the impending change of her marital status, get her thoughts on Al Sharpton's sharp criticism of the Mormon faith.

As we go to break, one last look at those amazing images from Catalina Island.


KING: Joining us now from New York, old friend Marie Osmond -- singer, actress, entertainer, member of the famed Osmond family and co-founder of the Children's Miracle Network, which we'll discuss in a bit. They're having a big deal in New York.

MARIE OSMOND: Yes, they are.

KING: Let's -- let's cover a couple of things first.

You made news recently about getting divorced after a long marriage.

What's that been like?

OSMOND: Well, we're in the process of that. And, you know, being founder of Children's Miracle Network and being our big 25th anniversary, they said, Marie, will you go out and promote?

And I said wow, this couldn't be like the worst time.

But -- but for you, Larry, I'm here.

You know, there's -- there's -- there's a lot of good things, Larry. You know. I mean you've been around me for years. And, you know, seven years ago we were separated. And it's probably something we should have done, you know, seven years ago. But you work and you work and it's -- it's like I said today on "The View" -- I co-hosted. I said, you know, this was not a spontaneous decision. This is 20 years. And, you know, it's not like I'm out looking for the, you know, great single life. I have eight kids. And...

KING: Yes, but how...

OSMOND: (LAUGHTER) it... KING: ... how do they deal with it?

OSMOND: They're doing OK. Well, you know. I mean you have children from divorce. I think you have to, you know, there's a lot of things, a lot of things that I really can't discuss right now. But, you know, the kids are the most important. And I mean we live, what, two blocks from each other. So we want to, you know, be involved with them and they know. Kids know. They're very smart.

KING: So you're friendly then?

OSMOND: Oh sure.

KING: This is not a big hassle thing?

OSMOND: No, no we're...

KING: Now, what about you?

OSMOND: ... we're friendly.

KING: You're very pretty. You're young.

Are you -- are you out dating again?


KING: What are you laughing at?

OSMOND: No. You.

KING: Why?

OSMOND: No. Absolutely not.

KING: Why is that funny?

OSMOND: Larry, I have eight kids.


OSMOND: Any guy that would be interested in a woman with eight kids scares me.


KING: So -- so that means you are doomed for life?

OSMOND: Do you know what?

KING: You will never pair off again?

OSMOND: I'm kind of done. I'm wearing my mother's ring. And I'm married to my kids. Yes. You know, I've -- I spent 25 years. I've decided I think I'll wait until the next life and let god get it right for me. KING: All right.

Don't you miss opposite -- the opposite attraction of men in your life? Don't you miss being with someone?

OSMOND: Do you know, my life is full. There's a lot of women who are in my -- my position, Larry. And, you know, being a single mother is not what I expected for my life 20 years ago. But, you know, relationship -- you know, it's something that I -- no. I mean, sure, it would be wonderful. But my life is full.

KING: That's great.

OSMOND: You know, I have eight kids and 17 million that I help otherwise. I have great brothers.

KING: Yes, I want to get to that.

OSMOND: I believe in marriage, Larry. I totally believe in it. It's -- it's just one of those things that -- that this -- this is the right thing for me to do.

KING: Let's talk about young Hollywood today and what these mere children -- these children are experiencing today.

You talked on "The View" today about what you thought kept you safe during those years.

Let's watch.


OSMOND: I was 3 years old when I did my first show. I was 14 when we started doing "Donny and Marie."


OSMOND: More people watched that show in one night than the entire run of the movie "Jaws."


OSMOND: It was dubbed into 17 languages.

So I -- you know, you see people like who -- the popular girls of today...


OSMOND: Britney, Christina Aguilera, whatever...


OSMOND: You know, I -- I grew up in that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. OSMOND: And -- and the thing that I see is -- thank god I didn't have a stage mother.


OSMOND: You know, I had a mother who was there for every stage of my life.


KING: Were you saying, Marie, therefore that it was easier for you than for the Lindsay Lohans of today?


Larry, show business is not easy.

The world that -- that I grew up in, you know, everything was available. It's not like things weren't there. But because I had an incredible mother, who really taught values, hard work ethic, self- esteem, self-worth that didn't depend on your next gig, that, really, you know, that inward strength. You know, I had an awesome mother and an awesome father.

And so, you know, I feel very, very blessed that way.

You know, when our studio was built, our multimillion dollar studio, my dad got the bill for a cleaning crew and he goes, "I'm not paying this. I've got nine kids."

And so we -- there was no time for ego. There was no time for anything. And, Larry, I'm so blessed because, you know, I'm one of these women who have had a 40-year career when most women in show business are lucky to get a five year career.

KING: So...

OSMOND: And so, you know, I've worked with everybody from the, you know, the Raquel Welches to, you know, debuting Britney, and, like I said and, you know, whoever. I've seen a lot of people come and go. And it really seems like the ones that -- that stay, and it's -- it's the long-term. You have to look long-term.

KING: All right.

Would you say it's harder today than it was for you?

OSMOND: You know, I think today is really tough for kids. I mean we were talking today about drinking and smoking and all the issues. I think Rosie made a comment about how she was driving drunk. And I said, you know, that's hard, because Osmonds don't need designated drivers but -- we don't drink.

But the thing -- the thing is that drugs -- I mean we were talking today -- none of them knew about these, they're called farm parties. And what that is, is kids will steal medicines out of their parents' cupboards, dump them in a bowl and they play Russian Roulette. It's so easy. And now they're selling drugs with like cartoon characters on them. They're -- they're targeting 7 and 8 year olds.

And so, to me it's such a -- they make one phone call and they meet them in a parking lot. And it is -- it's a plague...

KING: Do you...

OSMOND: Of this generation, is -- is drug abuse.

KING: Do you think Paris Hilton deserves tough prison and should she be treated that way for drunk driving and driving with a suspended license?

OSMOND: You know, I -- I don't think we should be respecter of people. I think that the law is the law. And, you know, Paris is a person just like you and me and everybody else. And I don't care if they're a celebrity or not. You know, those are the kind of examples my kids are watching and I think we need to let children know that consequences are consequences, do you know?

KING: We're going to take a break.

We'll discuss Al Sharpton's criticism of the Mormon Church and the Children's Miracle Network, when we come back.


DONNY AND MARIE OSMOND (SINGING): I just want to be beside you everywhere. As long as we're together, baby, I don't care. 'cause you've started something, oh can't you see that ever since we met you've had a hold on me?

No matter what you do, I only wanna be with you.






KING: If you go to, you can order this terrific new DVD of 300 tapes of LARRY KING LIVE, highlights over the years, an incredible collection with personal observations by me at the end of each of the three tapes about all of the guests and stories you never heard before. That's, OK?

OSMOND: And Larry?

KING: Yes.

OSMOND: Fifty years, congratulations.

KING: I'm starting to feel it.

OSMOND: Isn't that amazing? You know my brothers are celebrating 50 years this year.

KING: Yes, I would figure they are.

OSMOND: Are you one of my brothers?

KING: You got enough.

Anyway, Mitt Romney took a hit in the press recently from a Democrat, Al Sharpton.

OSMOND: Right.

KING: There was a debate on atheism versus Christianity. Let's take a look and get your thoughts, watch.



AL SHARPTON, DEMOCRAT: And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that. That's a temporary -- that's a temporary situation.

MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His comment was a bigoted comment. It shows that bigotry still exists in some corners. And I thought it was a most unfortunate comment to make.


KING: Al Sharpton said today that he's going to Salt Lake City to meet with leaders of the Mormon Church. And that's not the way he meant it, but there are many who believe that the Mormon Church is different from other Christian churches and some Christian churches believe it isn't Christian. What's your response?

OSMOND: Well, Larry, you're married to a Mormon. I mean you know Mormon is a nickname. It's called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I don't know how you can get more specific than to carry the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, we're Christians. I guess because this is the hot news and I'm a Mormon. You know that's the topic. But, you know, Al said what he said and you can backpedal.

But, you know, Al has not led a perfect life. I think people need to be responsible for what they say. And it's unfortunate. It's like today when we're talking about this topic and it's been going on all day. But, you know, the Jewish people and the Mormons really are the two only religious people that have had extermination orders ordered against them because of their beliefs.

And so, you know, it's like, what, 19 -- whenever it was, everybody was so afraid to elect a Catholic president and that was Kennedy. So, you know, I'm not saying I'm voting for Mitt. I'm not saying anything. You know we have a year, year and a half left to make our decisions. But I think that it's really, really important, especially as a mother, what I try to teach my children, is who cares what celebrities say, who cares what other people say? What's important is to study the issues. Who cares what, you know, no offense, television and news and all those things read, really understand the issues. What are the men saying? You know it's easy to slam people for what they do. But what are you going to do different? And those are the kinds of things I think should be talking about now instead of, you know, are we Christian. Yes, we're Christian, you know.

KING: Do you think Mitt Romney was right to call him bigoted?

OSMOND: Well, I think it was. I mean, you know, this is where I stand. We want a woman president. You know we have a guy running who is a Mormon. And we want an African-American president. So I say let's vote for Gladys Knight.

KING: She encompasses all of it.

OSMOND: Hey, you know.

KING: Isn't Mitt Romney, though, pretty popular in Salt Lake and in Utah and among the Mormon community?

OSMOND: You know, I think -- well, really Massachusetts is where he's been, which is a very liberal state, you know.

KING: I know.

OSMOND: And you see how he has worked with both Democrats and Republicans. I think that's impressive. What he did for the Olympics, I think that's what you're talking about, when he came in and really pulled it together. I think he has shown leadership.

So, you know, as we continue to watch this process, you know, we'll see what happens. I thought it was very funny. I read a comment the other day that said out of all the candidates, he's the only one that hasn't had multiple wives. And so I thought it was actually kind of a funny comment.

KING: How much do you miss your mom?

OSMOND: I miss her a ton. Thank you for asking, Larry. It's three years yesterday that she passed away, but, you know, I feel her closely. And mother's day, she passed away on Mother's Day, which is coming, but you know how it falls on different days. But I thought it was very symbolic because she was an incredible woman. She started the Osmond Foundation, which actually, you know, produces and founded Children's Miracle Network. And so, you know, she's a powerful lady. She was my Mother Theresa. You know she was a brilliant woman and just an incredible woman of great faith, wisdom, great sense of humor, and a powerful love. You know it's interesting because when we got the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a lot of those people buy their stars, a lot of celebrities or you know, management or whatever, but our fans bought ours. We're like one of the only three or four that had that happen. And my mom couldn't be there, but she was so pleased and to -- because she e-mailed. And you know they called her Mother Osmond throughout the world. I mean Elvis called her all the time because she looked like his mom.

KING: Wow!

OSMOND: Just a real personable woman.

KING: Yes, we're going to...

OSMOND: And you know she did a lot of great things in her life.

KING: We're going to take a break and when we come back, we'll talk about the Children's Miracle Network with Marie Osmond right after this.


KING: Back to Marie Osmond. What, Marie, is the Children's Miracle Network?

OSMOND: Well, Children's Miracle Network is 170 of the premiere children's hospitals throughout North America. We're in Canada as well. And our hospitals, just last year alone, they gave way about $2.8 billion in uncompensated care. Government funding is just not keeping up with it. We have 9 million children who are uninsured. And what we do is we raise money -- you'll see us everywhere, the balloon. You know, lots of fun events are happening right now through the month of -- up until May.

And so, I'm here to say, you know, get involved, do what you can do. I know XM Radio is doing a huge thing with Wal-Mart to raise $10 million in the next few weeks. So if you see that pulling up with Wal-Mart participate, there's just so many things that are happening. But as one of the founders, we help 17 million children a year. And it's everything. There's so many causes out there but they all have to be treated. And that's what we do. We do the finest treatment research available.

KING: Now the money goes exactly to what?

OSMOND: The money goes to research, beds, whatever that facility needs. The other thing is that when you -- unlike, you know, today, Rosie said St. Jude's or something like that, that's one hospital that takes money from all over the country. And what we do is we're 170 of those hospitals that keep the money where it's raised. So really it's community helping community. Your hospital -- like in Los Angeles, you know, all the money there would stay there, go your local children's hospitals.

We had a huge event here in New York today with Tiki and everybody. We've got a huge Children's Miracle Network balloon in Times Square. And it's everywhere and they called it Children's Miracle Network Day here in New York City.

And so it's really amazing. It's 25 years of doing wonderful things for kids. Children that would never have survived 10 years ago are now living fabulous lives. It's quality. These hospitals reach out into the community. They help your pediatricians and everything else. I mean it's really fantastic.

KING: Who came up with the idea of this balloon drive?

OSMOND: You know it's amazing this balloon represents $250 million. Is that crazy? And it was a lady -- one of the ladies who wanted to do something brilliant. I wish I could say her name right now and I can't. But a lot of other people have copied us. But we were the first to come up with, you know, donate a dollar, a dollar here, a dollar there, you think what is that, $250 million, pretty amazing. And you know...

KING: Any idea -- I'm sorry, any idea over the years how many kids you helped?

OSMOND: Well, I know it's 17 million kids a year. And we have been doing...

KING: A year?

OSMOND: A year, every year. Isn't that phenomenal?

You know, Larry, I was thinking about it, you know your 50 years for you in television -- and by the way, I just have to say, you know, they're saying now that 40 is the new 50 and now they're saying that 30 is the new 40. You need to do another 20 years, Larry.

KING: Your lips to God.

OSMOND: But, you know, you look at what's happened. I remember the first successful -- because you love heart -- doing things for heart patients with your cardiac foundation. I remember holding the very first successful heart transplant child on my lap. And it was live and I remember, Larry, very clearly, like it was yesterday, and now it's like a common thing. But I saw two women on the other side of the camera and the one was hugging the one mother and tears were coming down her eyes and she said thank you for giving my child the gift of life. And the other mother said, thank you for letting my child live on for yours.

The research that we do -- we're spreading worldwide now. We're in, you know, England. We're in Ireland. I'm heading over to China. Because our health care here, you know, we have the finest knowledge.

KING: Yes, but we still leave a lot to be desired.

OSMOND: We need to help our children. They're our greatest asset. KING: Thanks, Marie, as always, great seeing you. You look great.

OSMOND: Oh, thank you, Larry. I'm doing good.

KING: Keep up the great work.

OSMOND: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Marie Osmond, the singer, actress, entertainer and co- founder of one of the great charities of this country, the Children's Miracle Network.

Coming up next on LARRY KING LIVE...


BRUNO TONIOLI, JUDGE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": I'm nothing like anybody else, but it was terrible. It was crap.


BILLY RAY CYRUS, DANCING WITH THE STARS: Bruno calling me crap is the pot calling the kettle black.


KING: Billy Ray Cyrus turns the tables on "Dancing With The Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Singer Billy Ray Cyrus and his partner Karina Smirnoff.


KING: We wind up things tonight with Billy Ray Cyrus, the country music singer, best known for "Achy Breaky Heart," the multi platinum selling artist with three number one singles, six top 10 singles. He currently stars in the Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana" along with his daughter. And this is his first primetime interview since his elimination from ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" on Tuesday. Were you surprised?

CYRUS: No, not at all, not at all. I was surprised I lasted as long as I did.

KING: Were you mad?

CYRUS: No, not at all. I thank God for this opportunity and it was a great challenge for me. I said all along I wasn't a dancer. You know I'm a singer, songwriter, entertainer, but ballroom dancing had never been my thing, you know. KING: How did you get on the show?

CYRUS: They extended an invitation and I declined several times. And my agent, the greatest agent in the world, Mitchell Gossip, just kept saying, "Man, you got to do this. You got to do this." And I would say, "But I can't." And then every time I say I can't, I kept thinking back about my life. I always wanted God use my life for a purpose, you know, to represent the light, especially for kids from Kentucky and Southern West Virginia and that area where I'm from. I wanted kids to look at my life and say if Billy Ray Cyrus can reach his dreams, then I can reach my dreams also. So I couldn't really justify saying I can't do this because I'm scared. I had to conquer my fear.

KING: Someone said, though, that you were ticked. You were not ticked?

CYRUS: No, I'm not ticked. No, I wasn't.

KING: Given the wrong information.

CYRUS: Well...

KING: One of the judges, Bruno Tonioli, is that his name? I guess.

CYRUS: I'm not sure.

KING: Was pretty hard on you Monday night after your mambo. And let's take a look at the performance and hear what the judges said.


TONIOLI: You always are deliciously awful, and, you know, I appreciate that.


TONIOLI: It was awful. It was not -- it was the Fox Trot not the...



TONIOLI: Now I mean, come on. They're going the final. We've got to be honest here. We are going towards the final, a very, very important competition. And you know I loved him like anybody else, but it was terrible, it was crap.

CYRUS: You know I've held my tongue the whole time, but I'm going to go ahead and say it, Bruno calling me crap is the pot calling the kettle black.


KING: So you were a little angry?

CYRUS: You know what, I got to be honest you, Larry, my dad told me a long time ago, as a little boy, and I've always tried to remember, the more you stomp in crap, the more it stinks. And it's real easy to prove that theory. You need to tell your boys that because it's true every time.

KING: So you weren't surprised you were off the show, but you were a little surprised at the manner in which he said it.

CYRUS: Yes, I was a little surprised that, you know, that he would be that rude, you know, at that point in the show where I mean -- again, I never...

KING: Why rock it?

CYRUS: Yes, I mean I worked really hard to stay that long. You know I just expected a little bit better manners from a guy that called me a southern gentleman. But hey, that's the way it goes.

KING: Let's take a look at Billy Ray Cyrus at his second performance. You and your partner did the Fox Trot.


TONIOLI: And I say this with love, you're like a wild beast that cannot be tamed. If by any miracle you remain in this competition, she's going to end up in Betty Ford because I don't know, you know you're uncontrollable. Your charm relies on that. But, you know, the dancing, well, that's another story.

CYRUS: It's just hard to come back after that type of rudeness. And I'm sorry, I -- you know like the...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still bugging you, yes?

CYRUS: It's so rude. It's so rude. We gave everything we got to get to this point. And we tried really hard and worked really hard and made it this far. You would think that somebody would have the courtesy to at least, you know...

KARINA SMIFNOFF, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": I just kept telling Billy Ray...


KING: Billy, you were a little ticked.

CYRUS: You know it was pretty rude. But I kept thinking back to what my buddy Johnny Cash said, you know, just always be yourself, stay true to who you are and most importantly, this is written right from Johnny Cash, always give thanks to almighty God for all things that are good.

KING: A letter from Johnny Cash to Billy Ray, Hendersonville, Tennessee, June 12, 1992, he said he was very impressed to hear you give God the credit for your success.

CYRUS: That is correct.

KING: Did you know him well?

CYRUS: Pretty well, you know, well enough to call him my friend. And I miss him to this day. But I still love listening to his music. Everything he ever recorded is still just as good if not better today than it was then. KING: Do you think Johnny would have gone on "Dancing With The Stars"?

CYRUS: Absolutely not. I do not believe he would. And you know, what, but I think he probably would be glad -- I danced "Ring of Fire" my second dance, which I thought my second dance was going to be my last.

That's when I flew my little Johnny Cash leader out here from Tennessee just for good luck. I wanted to remember what, you know, Johnny had told me. And that kind of began a comeback for me and Karina and we ended up lasting six or seven more weeks after that.

KING: Yes, you went a long while for a guy getting ripped all the time.

CYRUS: It was brutal.

KING: Are you a better dancer now?

CYRUS: You know what; I have to be because I had never danced.

KING: You were quite good. You deserve the rep.

CYRUS: Thank you.

KING: Billy Ray Cyrus will be back with more to talk more about his television show and his daughter's involvement in it. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep thinking it's going to go really terribly wrong and somehow you manage to pull it out and get the steps done.

TONIOLI: You manage somehow to bully yourself through the dance without respect of anything. And somehow we watch it and enjoy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you and I hope you're back because I think you're great.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONIOLI: You always are deliciously awful but it was terrible. It was crap.


CYRUS: Bruno calling me -- wait, he called me a southern gentleman. He needs to take a lesson on southern gentleman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's stop that and...


KING: We're with Billy Ray Cyrus and he stars with his daughter and Heather Locklear, right?

CYRUS: Heather Locklear is my new girlfriend on the show.

KING: Not a bad addition.

CYRUS: I'm thrilled to death about it.

KING: What happened to the other girlfriend?

CYRUS: Well, my original wife on the show was Brooke Shields and she's deceased as my wife on the show.

KING: They killed her off?

CYRUS: Yes, they killed her off, unfortunately. So she made her appearance in flashbacks. As the show was established, I was a widower.

KING: How did your daughter get to be the -- how did she get to be Montana?

CYRUS: You know what, she got there by a lot of hard work, a lot of auditions that she went on that she didn't get, you know. But I kept telling her that, you know, Thomas Edison said, "Failure is the most important ingredient for success. And every time you fail, you eliminate one way that won't work, therefore being closer to the one way that will." And she just kept going out there and auditioning and auditioning and finally when this opportunity came up with Disney, she was ready. And I knew when I read the script that Hannah Montana had found Miley and Miley had found Hannah Montana.

KING: You're releasing an album in September for Disney?

CYRUS: That's right. I have a new album coming out in September. It's an album I have waited a lifetime to make. I recorded a few classics that I've always loved.

KING: Like?

CYRUS: "Over The Rainbow".

KING: It's not country. CYRUS: Yes. "You've Got a Friend," a song that our world needs desperately right now. It was an old hit years ago called "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." I mean...

KING: Put a little love in your heart...

CYRUS: You got it. You got it.

KING: ...and the world will be a better place.

CYRUS: You got it. That's it.

And then I wrote a song for Miley, the title track of the album called "Ready, Set, Don't Go." And it's about when your little girl grows up and you realize you're at that spot as a parent that you got to let them spread their wings.

KING: Would you recommend "Dancing With The Stars" to friends?

CYRUS: You know what, the ones that can dance, I would say, you know if you want to do it...

KING: Go if you can dance.

CYRUS: ...go if you can dance. But if you aren't a dancer, I wouldn't recommend it.

KING: What did your daughter think of it?

CYRUS: Oh, she loved it. She's the one that talked me into it when it all came down.

KING: Would she go on?

CYRUS: She might. She's a great dancer. She can really dance. She'd probably last.

KING: Wasn't she hurt by the way they treated you at the end?

CYRUS: You know what, she cried. That is what bothered me the most. And I think that's the reason why I couldn't let it go the first time, you know. I think that's why I had to come back, you know, and just say, this wasn't right because in between the commercial break when my little girl came back to me and hugged me with tears coming down her face in the hallway, I just thought, you know what, this guy doesn't realize that, you know, words are -- you know that hurt. He didn't have to do that. That's the way it goes, you know.

Like my daddy said, the more you stomp in crap, the more it stinks.

KING: Do you have a favorite in "Dancing With The Stars?"

CYRUS: Of all the people that was on there?

KING: Yes, I know. Who's going to win?

CYRUS: You know what; it's going to be a great competition. I do know that. They've got some really good dancers lined up for the finals. And I think it's going to come down to the wire.

KING: Are you going to watch it?

CYRUS: Oh, of course. I'm going to be there.

KING: Oh, you will be there?

CYRUS: Yes, I'll be there. I'll be there cheering them on. I've made so many friends on the show. It's been the best part of it, is all the friends that I've made. It's just been an unbelievable experience for me and I do thank God for this opportunity.

KING: Thanks for coming over, Billy.

CYRUS: Thank you, sir. It's good to see you, as always.

KING: Billy Ray Cyrus, "Hannah Montana" series, a lot going for him. There's a big album coming in September.


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