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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Regis Philbin; Interview With Matt Lauer
Aired June 13, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight Regis Philbin. In March he made front page news when he told his millions of viewers that he was about to have triple bypass heart surgery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REGIS PHILBIN, TALK SHOW HOST: I've been feeling just pains, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He made headlines again when he returned last less than two months later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: Honest to God. They come from your leg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In his history-making career, he's interviewed everyone from David Letterman to Paris Hilton. What's he think of the headlines she's been making? Lots to cover with my man Rege.
And then Matt Lauer, on his huge interview with Prince William and Prince Harry. And on Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and his more than 10 years on "Today."
Matt Lauer, Regis Philbin, what an hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Great night ahead with two of my favorite people -- Regis Philbin and Matt Lauer. Regis one TV's most popular, most enduring personalities, the Emmy award winning host with "Live with Regis and Kelly" now in its 19th season in national syndication. By the way, how are you feeling?
PHILBIN: Thanks. I feel pretty good, Larry, yeah.
KING: Let's go back to that original announcement which stunned America. Watch, this folks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: For a couple of weeks before we went out to California, I have been feeling just pains, you know? And shortness of breadth and all of those little symptoms that you hear about. So I called the doctor. Decided to take some tests. Took about three different CAT scan and then a stress test and a cathartic test. A lot of tests. And it was their conclusion that should I have a bypass.
So to protect -- I was looking forward to an angioplasty. You know, you get in, bang, bang, bang. They blow it up, and you leave the next day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were looking forward to that?
PHILBIN: Yeah. I thought I could get away with that. But anyway, there's some plaque in some arteries. And I've got to get it cleaned up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And before we get the whole story, I want to pay a little special tribute to Regis if you have any doubts about people pulling for you and your health, take a look at what happened this weekend. We have our Larry King Cardiac Foundation which we help people who can't afford it to get heart procedures. We had our gala in Washington. And this happened. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Isom, who you just met, performed a triple bypass procedure last March on a fellow we all know, my friend, Regis Philbin. In the midst of Healing Hearts tonight I just want to take a moment that Regis was back at work six weeks later, spinning every interview with the reference to Notre Dame's chances of winning something at the end of the season.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In other words he's doing fine and running strong.
KING: And he's a special friend and he'll be a guest on my show next week on Wednesday night. And we are so proud to have him aboard and alive because of Wayne Isom. Let's have a hand for Regis Philbin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, Regis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: Very nice. Thank you, Larry. That's very sweet of you.
KING: Wayne Isom did my surgery, did your surgery.
PHILBIN: That's all I heard about was you were the first one to start this whole trend, right/
PHILBIN: Cronkite after Letterman and I'm following all of you.
KING: Were you scared?
PHILBIN: Larry, I wish I had known more about the bypass situation but I didn't realize they were going to open up my leg and take some arteries out of there and put -- and open my chest and put it in there and so I was kind of unprepared. But -- and the first week was tough. I remember asking people in my audience when I first announced it. Has anyone here had one these things? And one little old lady raised her hand. I said tell me the truth, how was it? She said, it was hell. And you know ...
KING: Wonderful to hear that.
PHILBIN: It was wonderful to hear that is right. And it was. The first couple of days was more than I thought it was going to be. Do you remember that Larry? I know it was 20 years ago.
KING: It was 20 years ago but I remember the recovery's quick.
PHILBIN: Well, a week later you're up and you're out, yeah.
KING: And then you feel a lot better than you felt.
PHILBIN: And you got stronger every week. So it's been three months, like you say. And I'm feeling pretty good right now.
KING: David Letterman was the first guest when you got back, right?
KING: That bond between you and him.
PHILBIN: Well, you know, it's sort of developed over the years. Every night before and during and after my operation, he would make some reference to it. When I announced that I was going to take a six weeks' leave that night on his show, he said, "Regis Philbin announced today that he'll be going away for six weeks. He'll be checking into the hospital. It's sort of a medical leave of absence. And you know what that means, don't you folks? Face-lift."
And then the second night, Larry, I'm laying in bed and I'm thinking, geez, 6:30 in the morning I have to be over at New York Presbyterian Hospital to get this thing done. Can't sleep. Tune on "Letterman." He says, "Well, it is going to happen tomorrow morning. Regis Philbin is going to be checked into the hospital. They're going to put him on a gurney and bust him open like a lobster!"
How can a man sleep after that?
KING: Your friend is helping you?
PHILBIN: Yeah, my friend. So he had a ball with the whole thing during the six weeks I was gone. But every night, there was some other crack about it. KING: All right. How has it changed your life?
PHILBIN: Well, I'm more aware now more than ever of what I have to do. And that is, I've got to do some cardiac exercise. I've got to walk. I hate jogging, Larry, I hate it.
KING: Who likes it?
PHILBIN: No one likes it. And walking after a while becomes a bore. But I feel like I have got to do it and I do feel better after I do it. I also watch my diet a little more. Although once in awhile, don't you have a steak every now and then?
PHILBIN: So -- And do you feel guilty afterwards?
KING: No, they tell you after 20 years for you to be -- I think the big thing is keep your weight down.
KING: Keep your cholesterol low. Do you take medication?
PHILBIN: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
KING: You'll have that the rest of your life. The Lipitors or whatever it is.
PHILBIN: Do you take Lipitor?
PHILBIN: Do you have aches in your legs?
KING: No. I don't have reaction to drugs. I'm lucky that way.
PHILBIN: You are. I have tremendous reaction. Anyway, yeah I'm on all of that stuff. So I'm carrying on like you do.
KING: Do you ever think of retiring?
PHILBIN: I've got two years to go on my contract. And every now and then, I think well maybe I should wrap it up and relax a little bit. And then what am I going to do? I remember you did an interview -- or Katie Couric did you, right? On your 50th or 100th, whatever it was. And you said, I think about it ...
KING: Retire to what?
PHILBIN: To what? Exactly right.
KING: What would do you?
PHILBIN: So I don't know what to do. I don't know how to do anything. KING: Does the show still please you every morning?
PHILBIN: Yeah, I don't like getting up that early. Because you know, when you have a show that Sunday afternoon or at night, you at least have that day to think about. Plan your questioning, plan what you are going to talk about. When you wake up at 7:30 and get there at 8:30 and you are on the air at 9:00, which is no time to prepare which may be an asset to the way I do a show. Spontaneity that you have to live with and deal with. And maybe that's the best way for me.
KING: But the show stays. You went to New Orleans, right?
KING: To showcase you. So it looks like the show is not saying well, Regis had surgery, we'll stay home forever.
PHILBIN: They couldn't care less.
KING: They don't care.
PHILBIN: What do they care? Surgery, put it out there. So you're on your own. But no, Kelly's there every day. And everyone was very concerned. And everyone was very sweet. And best wishes for the recovery. And you know, the presents came in. The flowers.
KING: It's nice to know that people care.
PHILBIN: It really was. It was very surprising. I mean I heard from people that I don't know that well.
KING: Plus, don't you feel a special bond about Dr. Isom.
PHILBIN: Very much so.
KING: Because he touched his heart.
PHILBIN: Absolutely. Held it in his hands.
KING: That's correct. Something to think about. I'm not kidding. That's emotion.
PHILBIN: I know you're not kidding. I feel that. And he was terrific. And after it was over, he would come and visit me at my home, just to make sure I was all right. I admire that.
KING: He's a good guy.
PHILBIN: You were the first one to -- first celebrity or?
KING: No. You know he could have done Clinton. You know that story?
KING: But they wouldn't tell him who patient was.
PHILBIN: They told me that story.
KING: Up next, something else Rege and I have in common. We're now sisters. We'll explain when LARRY KING LIVE returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: That's enough.
PHILBIN: They slit you right down.
LETTERMAN: That's enough.
PHILBIN: And then you wind up with this. This thing will not heal.
LETTERMAN: That'll be ...
PHILBIN: Look at, this all the way up my leg. All from there.
LETTERMAN: It's gone. It's gone.
PHILBIN: That's what I wanted.
LETTERMAN: Look at that, it's gone. You can't ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how's it going?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: "Shrek the 3rd." The biggest money-making animated movie of all-time. It is about to be. It was certainly the biggest opening weekend. It features me and my return as Doris, the ugly step sister and Doris discovered the sister of who is Regis Philbin. We were is supposed to have a fist fight, right? But that didn't come off. I'd just knock you a of the pedestal.
PHILBIN: It was very funny and I was delighted to know that as sisters we'd be working together.
KING: That's right and four. They're right "Four" now with bigger roles.
PHILBIN: Is that right?
KING: We're going to be bigger than ever.
PHILBIN: I like that, Larry, good. You can be my agent in this.
KING: "Shrek's" success is extraordinary.
PHILBIN: It really is. It's just incredible. People just love it. Flock to. And I was amazed how long it took to produce.
KING: Boy years.
PHILBIN: I think I laid my voice on it a couple of years before it came out. You too, right?
KING: It takes a while.
PHILBIN: I wish we could have done it together. You were now the California. I was here in New York.
KING: Maybe next time.
PHILBIN: Because it would be a little bit better for us.
KING: This is top dog week on "Live." Who came up with that idea?
PHILBIN: Gellman (ph).
KING: What is it? Explain.
PHILBIN: It's - everyday we have a feature about dogs. Today we had little puppies. And how we should care for them and introduce them to their new house. And the funny thing is that Gellman refuses to buy his two little girls a puppy. And yet here he is exploiting dogs all over America.
KING: Are you a dog man?
PHILBIN: I was a dog man. I love dogs. I had a cat in my later years and fell in love with this little cat but every kid should have a dog. There's no doubt about it. We've had a lot of fun with them.
KING: Aren't we happy for Rickles? Number 10 on the "New York Times" best selling list. Don Rickles book. You can believe that.
PHILBIN: Yes. And I saw him on your show.
KING: And I saw him on -- he did our shows.
PHILBIN: Yes. I love when -- you get such a kick out of him, as I do. And you saw that laugh that Larry King laugh.
PHILBIN: Altoona, go ahead. He's a great guy and wonderful at his age now, he's finally put it down. We've all said to him, Don, you should write the book about these experiences.
KING: On the best seller's list.
PHILBIN: On the best seller's list. KING: What's the Relly awards?
PHILBIN: The Relly awards. Every year because we never win any ...
KING: You don't win.
PHILBIN: We've never won. I did win an Emmy once in between co- hosts. Did I ever tell you that story?
PHILBIN: Yeah. When Kathie Lee left, there was like a gap this of about four, five months. So I would bring on Don Rickles. Whoever was available to come on as co-host with me and I won for that. I won my best host, whatever they call it.
KING: So that's the key to you.
PHILBIN: How do you like that? How do you like that? Thirty- five years with these co-hosts.
KING: So you created your own awards.
PHILBIN: So we created our own awards. We give them out to people who have been on our show. And it's a lot of fun. And we win every award. So we can't miss.
KING: "The View" follows you I guess on most stations. It's on most ABC.
PHILBIN: In L.A., it is, yeah. In New York, there's an hour in between us.
KING: Who should host it? Who should be the new who, whatever.
PHILBIN: Well, I mean, that is an interesting -- whoever it is, is going to have their hand's full filling Rosie's gap, you know? Rosie was outspoken and color colorful and kind of wild some days. And so I don't know, is Whoopie Goldberg one of the ones they're considering?
KING: Wouldn't she be ideal if she wanted to do it?
PHILBIN: I think she'd be great. But she's got her own radio show.
PHILBIN: Roseanne Barr would be fabulous, too. Yeah, she'd be very good. She'd be excellent. I talked to Barbara Walters about this last week. She said you know, it's not only how they are individually, but how they fix in the mix of the four of us and the chemistry that comes out of them being a part of us. So I think she's going it take her time before she makes the decision.
KING: What's the key in the morning? To morning, if could be called that success.
PHILBIN: Well, I think the informality of it, because it is morning. I think the spontaneity on it is very good. Although on their show they know where they're going. You've guested on that show. So you know those hot topics are discussed before they come out.
But I think that's a big part of it. And I think it's a great idea that these four women, you know, get up there and express themselves. Women must love it. It gets a good rating.
KING: It was Barbara's idea.
PHILBIN: And it was Barbara's idea. You want to know something, one day Barbara Walters was pinch hitting for Kathie Lee. And so what are we going to talk about? She said, Barbara, it's better if we just talk on the show. And so what we did. And laughs. And it was fun and interesting. And after it was over during the commercial break, she said, boy this was fun. And it was kind of easy. I said, yeah. Before I know it, two weeks later ...
KING: You gave her the idea?
PHILBIN: Exactly. I'm at a function at the Waldorf Hotel. And Milton Berle is performing. I'm being honored. One by one the comedians are going up there and Joy Behar went up. And Barbara said she's funny, oh yeah, she's a riot. She's got great material. Who is that? What's her name? Joy Behar. I spelled it out for her. She wrote to down in the little book. Excuse me.
PHILBIN: The father of "The View" you're looking at him.
KING: Do you get a cut?
PHILBIN: Get nothing. Once in awhile, a call. You can pitch in for somebody? I'll be there.
KING: Why are we involved with, we care about Paris Hilton?
PHILBIN: Well, you know, Larry, the life has changed so dramatically for us over the years. It's about the importance of people. Here's a young girl who really has not appeared in anything substantial. Didn't act in anything great. I mean in the old days, when a movie star hit it big, there was this kind of adulation. But she's kind of like made herself a media princess.
KING: She did it herself, right or did we do it?
PHILBIN: Well, we did it by following but I think the media jumped all over this beautiful blonde and made her the little queen that she is. I've met her. And she seems to be fairly nice person.
KING: I met her once at her parent's house at a reception. Was she ever on "The View," on your show? PHILBIN: Yeah, she was fun.
KING: Good guest?
PHILBIN: Yeah. Good guest. Tried hard but all of the sudden the media wouldn't leave her alone and I think it just grew and grew and grew, but potentially, do that many people really care? Or is it because the media's so involved?
KING: Ah, chicken or the egg? What is it?
PHILBIN: You tell me.
KING: You tell me.
PHILBIN: I think it's chicken.
KING: I think it's the egg.
PHILBIN: How do you like that?
KING: How do you like that?
I hope you're ready for this, Regis. Last night's text vote question -- should Regis sing on this show.
KING: Seventy-six percent voted yes. Only 24 percent voted no. So when we come back, Rege will give the people what they want. Will you?
PHILBIN: Right on this show live?
KING: Just a couple, whatever.
PHILBIN: Yeah, OK, fine.
KING: We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, ACTOR: I can't believe you're not wearing a suit!
I just sounded like Regis Philbin.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: We have a show. He hasn't even been on the air. He's not on the air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back that was you with Pete Fountain (ph) in New Orleans.
PHILBIN: Yeah it was a thrill for me to work with Pete Fountain. He still down there, still playing that instrument.
KING: So do something for us. We love the way you sing.
PHILBIN: Well, I love the way you sing too. And incidentally, one time on the airplane Larry and I were sitting together. He was humming a song. And it was an old song. And I said -- and I found out then that as a kid, you memorized all those songs here in New York radio.
PHILBIN: As I did. So if I sing a couple of songs.
KING: OK. I'll do the next.
PHILBIN: A couple of lines it a song.
KING: I'll do the next lines.
PHILBIN: And thinking of Pete Fountain. All of those great southern songs from Dixie Land. I'm Alabama bound
KING: I hear the rootie tootin (ph). I hear those heebie jeebies running round.
PHILBIN: Just gave the neatest ticket man on earth.
KING: All I'm worth.
PHILBIN: But I love those songs. And I think you're terrific. And I sing them all of the time. You haven't sung those in a million years.
KING: Those were lyrics you could actually understand and you could hum a tune.
PHILBIN: I know.
KING: Hey, you're doing a concert tour this year?
PHILBIN: Yeah. Yeah, I have a couple of things that I signed up for.
PHILBIN: Well, Atlantic City, we're going to play Bally's. Susan Lucci and me and Troy Philbin. And in October. And then in November, where am I going? I'm going - in September I'm going to Detroit, yeah. KING: You do comedy and song or just songs?
PHILBIN: Yeah. Comedy and song. You find that hard to believe, don't you? You are looking at me like I can't do it.
KING: Didn't you work Feinstein's (ph) too.
PHILBIN: No I never did ..
KING: But you got up and sang at Feinstein's?
PHILBIN: Yeah, yeah, sure, one night. And in December - in November I'm doing Niagara Falls, the hotel up there.
KING: So there is no slowing down?
PHILBIN: Well, once a month ...
KING: Even though you were a reported saying that one of the things that you learned in being off six weeks that you didn't miss the show that much and you had more fun at home.
PHILBIN: Well, I enjoyed being home on an extended basis. I take a week here. Maybe 10 days there. I never took a longer vacation than that. And all of a sudden, it kind of felt nice. Maybe because I knew I was going to go back to the show. But at that particular moment, no, I enjoyed being home. I really did.
KING: What is it that keeps you going? Your vitality is extraordinary.
PHILBIN: I'm afraid I would get bored if I didn't have that at least to look forward to and complain about and all the things that go into a regular job. So I just keep it going like that.
KING: How do you deal with all those stories that appear that Kelly's leaving? Or you don't like her? Or there's trouble backstage?
PHILBIN: I don't even follow -- Larry, I don't even follow that anymore. I really don't.
KING: Did it bother you at one time.
PHILBIN: Years ago, I would say, is that really happening? But I know it's not. And so I guess they've got to make a living too. Whatever they want to say is fine. But there is no problem with Kelly. I think she's terrific.
KING: Was Joy a performer earlier?
PHILBIN: No, no.
KING: So what led her into this?
PHILBIN: Well, when I was doing my first album of the last two that I did two years ago, we needed a girl singer to join me on "Baby it's Cold Outside."
KING: I really can stay ...
PHILBIN: Look, he can't stop! He can't stop! Baby it's cold outside ...
KING: I gotta go in.
PHILBIN: Baby it's cold out there.
KING: This evening has been.
PHILBIN: Been hoping that you drop in
KING: So nice and warm
PHILBIN: Can you believe this, Larry King sings?
KING: I know songs.
PHILBIN: You sure do. So Joy came in and did the demo record for it and the company said, let's use her. She sounds great. So that began her little career.
KING: Life is good, hey, Rege?
PHILBIN: It's always good, yeah. But I admire guys like you. Who have been around as long as I have. Even longer on the air anyway, you know? And I think that's what keeps me going. The fact that you're still going.
KING: Do you often think when you're outside in New York, I was a little Irish kid on the streets in ...
PHILBIN: I think about it all of the time.
KING: You never forget.
PHILBIN: I was never west of the Hudson River before I went away to Notre Dame.
KING: Me either. Until I -- Never been on a plane.
PHILBIN: That's right. Neither did I. So we came out of the same background. But it's a different background than is available today to everybody.
KING: Do you think we were luckier?
PHILBIN: I think so. I wouldn't trade my youth for anybody, for anything right now, any situation.
KING: Growing up, it's a great city to grow up ...
PHILBIN: Absolutely. Playing stickball in the streets. The same thing, you know? It was part of life in New York. And I just did a benefit the other night for Police Athletic League and that's still going on, the P.A.L. Thank god they are too. And now it's bigger and better than ever. When you think about how many lives that changed and helped and made successful, it makes me feel awfully good.
KING: This, you invited me. I went out, had a great time. Watched Notre Dame. Never been to the stadium, the dome.
PHILBIN: I remember that.
KING: Watched it. Went out a couple years back.
This affinity of yours for that school, a lot of people leave a school, they leave a school. They send a check. You stay attached.
PHILBIN: I do, I do.
KING: Go to every home game?
PHILBIN: Not every home game but I love going there. And I will always forget our visit there and how impressed you were because you were sizing it up like a real news man. I know you were. Because I said to Larry, you have never experienced anything like this. I will take you all around and I did, to the grotto. To the lakes, to the church. To everything. And a funny story happened. So Larry called his wife, Shawn, who is a Mormon and he said to her on the phone, I love this place. I'm thinking of converting. And Shawn said, well, that'll be a step up!
KING: This has been a step up for us as always.
PHILBIN: Hey, Larry, love you, really. You have become a national institution here. And I always like to have you back in New York, too.
KING: Regis Philbin, need we say more? Matt Lauer is next. We'll be right back.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an old friend, Matt Lauer, one of my favorite folk in the media who has nabbed the first ever America TV interview with Prince William and Prince Harry. It will be seen on "Today" and "Dateline NBC" on Monday, this coming Monday, June 18. He'll host a special title, "Concert for Diana" on July 1.
How did you nab this?
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": You know NBC was in talks with the palace for a long time over some event to mark the 10th anniversary of Diana's passing, Larry. And as a part of that, I think this concert came up and then everybody said, well, we've got to hear from the sons. And so the people at NBC who were negotiating the deal said, look, you know, we really think an interview should be part of this package. And they started sending tapes over to make sure they were aware of the kind of work we did, or I did. And I guess the people at the palace felt the chemistry would be right. And I was thankful because it's a great opportunity to sit down and talk to a couple of kids -- and they're not kids anymore -- that I've watched grow up and you have, too. I mean I've been able to put a voice to the images.
KING: Where did it take place?
LAUER: Clarence House in London which is the residence of Prince Charles when he's in London and where the boys stay when they're in town. Not palatial, you know, no gold leaf, no marble, no pomp and circumstances. It's kind of thread bare in some ways as some of the royal residents can be. And you know these two guys, they walked out into this fairly formal garden and you look at them and you say, first of all, they're not kids anymore. In my mind's eye...
KING: They're 8 and 7.
LAUER: Eight and 7 exactly or 12 and 15 walking behind the casket after their mom's death. And these are young men, 23 and 25.
KING: Let's watch a clip. You'll see it on Monday. Here's Matt Lauer with William and Harry. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: Was there a time in your lives when you were younger that your folks sat you down and talked about the responsibility of helping others? Did you have that kind of a talk?
PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES: Not formal as you might have put it but you know it always a topic, you know whenever you're just chatting away and you get on a certain subject. And it's been like, well, you know, there are certain things that you have to do that are really difficult that no one wants to do but you've got to do them.
LAUER: As young guys though, I mean, but what about sports, what about girls and all that stuff? How did that responsibility feel to you?
PRINCE HARRY OF WALES: Well, it all came in the same package. I mean you just -- then all of a sudden -- we were around our mother, we were there, it would just come in conversation about, you know what she'd be doing that day or how she felt, our weird fitting at school and stuff like this.
LAUER: So it wasn't as much as what she said it's just the way she lived?
PRINCE HARRY: The way she was the whole time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What surprised you the most?
LAUER: How normal. Normal is the word that you're going to hear in the interview a lot, Larry, and you're going to hear me talk about a lot. I think it's the Holy Grail for these kids. You know their mother talked a lot before she died that her dream for her children was that they live as normal of a life as possible. And they talk about a lot. They used the word in conversation constantly. They want to live normal lives. But they also are not dumb and they understand that the circumstances they've been born into make it, for the most part, impossible.
But having said that, sitting down across from them, listening to their sense of humor, the way they interact as brothers, the way they interact with me as an interviewer, they're as normal as they can be under the circumstances. And that struck me.
KING: Their ties to their mother still strong?
LAUER: Very strong. Their memories, I think in some ways they may be worried that their memories were fading. I mean they were 12 and 15 and now they're 23 and 25. And so the question is how much of their memory of their mom is shaped from their actual experience and how much is being shaped by what they read and what they hear about their mother?
KING: During this interview, as I understand, and I look forward to watching the full interview, Harry says he still wonders about the death?
LAUER: Yes, you know, we talked about the inquiry, which seems to be never ending even though it seemed to reach some conclusion, some official conclusion. Yet the fact that it continues on. And I asked him, did they understand the fascination with the circumstances of their mom's death? And they said, yes. And I did ask them, you know, do you still wonder what went on in that tunnel? He said I wonder about it every single day. I don't believe their conspiracy buffs. I don't think they ascribe do that. But they do wonder what happened in that tunnel to cause of the accident.
KING: What about their relationship with their father?
LAUER: We didn't talk about it a lot although we talked about it in terms of the aftermath of their mom's death. I kind of phrased it in the fact that how lucky they were to have each other, meaning the brothers, and they also, of course, brought up the fact that they were lucky to have our dad too to lean on under unusual circumstances.
KING: How they interact?
LAUER: Incredibly well, playful with each other, sarcastic with one another. They talk about -- we talk about nicknames that each one has, that their mother gave them. And during that time, they almost kind of -- you know they ruffled their feathers a bit when one talks about one's nickname and the other one feels that he's gotten off of the hook. They're typical -- I don't think there's a rivalry, but they're typically playful when it comes to two brothers who clearly know where each other's buttons are placed.
KING: Why do we, a nation, born to break away from that are still so interested in royalty? LAUER: I don't know. And it's funny because you're talking to someone who's never been fascinated by the royal family. I am not a royal watcher.
KING: Neither am I.
LAUER: And so, it's kind of strange that I'm the one who ends up with this interview. I don't know except that, you know -- and you could ask the same question, why are we still so fascinated with the Kennedy's in this country? Because in some ways they are...
KING: Our royal.
LAUER: ... our royal family. And so there's something about families of privilege, though that we could see a thread of ourselves in and I think that's the case with the royal family.
KING: It appears that you like them a lot.
LAUER: I went home, and you know my wife -- and I went home and I got home from this trip and I said, "This is going to sound like a dumb thing to say, sweetheart, because I get to interview, as you do, just about anybody." But I went home saying, you know, if they weren't who they are, they're the kind of guys I want to invite to the house for the weekend. They're that much fun. I left the interview sky-high not because of a get or anything like that just because of the fact that I truly liked them. And I hope that it translates in the interview. I think -- I'm pretty confident that the people who watch the interview are going to walk away saying, these are good kids who are trying to do good with their life even though every once in awhile they show up on the front page of the paper for something that's a little wacky.
KING: Now it airs on the "Today's Show" Monday morning?
LAUER: We'll do Monday and Tuesday on the "Today Show" and a special hour on NBC and "Primetime."
KING: And that's a concert?
LAUER: No. This is -- first, we're going to do this interview. This interview will air this coming Monday. And then later in June, actually I think it's the 1st of July is the Concert for Diana that the two boys have put together.
KING: And that's live?
LAUER: That's going to be live in London, but we're going to -- we'll air it later that evening in prime-time on NBC. And that's...
KING: And you go back to London?
LAUER: I go back to London in a couple of weeks.
KING: Back with more with Matt Lauer, the co-anchor of NBC's "Today Show." Now, how Matt enjoys working with Meredith and his take on Dan Rather's current controversy about Katie Couric. It's all next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: Do you e-mail each other, you text message each other? How do you -- do you get a nightly phone call?
PRINCE HARRY: We are slightly normal, you know we have a normal...
LAUER: You know MySpace.com.
PRINCE HARRY: No, we do. We're very -- we converse the normal way, such as phone calls. But you know we...
PRINCE HARRY: ... and we do. We see each other quite a bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: Please pull back and reveal one the most amazing locations that you'll ever see. Today the temperature is 118 degrees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Matt Lauer. Does it feel like 10 years you've been on "Today"?
LAUER: Some days it feels like 20 years. Some days it feels like 10 minutes. For the most part, it's flown by but, you know, the schedule gets to you after a while. It's a tough schedule especially with young kids.
KING: Do you feel very competitive, like, every morning do you look at how did we do and "Good Morning America"?
LAUER: I don't do it every morning. I tend to look at the end of the week to see if we had a good week or a bad week. I try not to make it about the other show. I try to make it about did we have a good week for our show, you know, did we do the kind of show that we should be doing this week? But it's hard to only do that. You can't have tunnel vision. Sometimes you do fall into the trap, and I do think it's a trap, of looking at the competition and seeing where you stack up. And I don't like to do that.
KING: How does it work with Meredith?
LAUER: It's great. It really is. She makes it look easy, which I think is one of her greatest skills. She's a down to earth, normal person. She's curious. She's a good journalist. And the mood around the studio is very pleasant because she really is easy-going. KING: Let's move to the controversy du jour.
LAUER: So which one is that? Which one do you have written down there?
KING: While Paris is in prison...
KING: ... we have to concentrate on something.
KING: In an interview this week, Dan Rather said, "Katie Couric," your old compatriot, "is a nice person but the mistake was to try to bring the 'Today's Show' ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down and tot it up in the hopes of attracting a younger audience." CBS' CEO Les Moonves slammed Rather's remarks as sexist. Rather denies he was referring specifically to Katie. Rick Kaplan, the producer of that show now, the news, has also churned in with a critique of Dan. What's your read?
LAUER: You know I like Dan Rather a lot and I have always respected him. I was a fan of his when he was on the air. I'm not sure what the upside is for Dan Rather to be making comments about this. I don't know. I think it's a lose/lose situation. I think the words he chose in his original statement were probably poorly chosen. I don't think you use some of the words he did in connection with Katie or that broadcast. I think the controversy is an inside baseball controversy when it comes right down to it. I think we're interested in it.
KING: Ohio doesn't care?
LAUER: I don't think so. I mean I think you'll find it on a lot of media websites. I think you'll find it being talked about in this cafeterias in this building and at NBC. And it's clearly at CBS. But I don't think that what Dan Rather says or what Les Moonves says is going to make a difference to someone sitting in Middle America. I don't think so.
KING: Do you take offense that Dan would refer to the "Today Show" effect on the "CBS Evening News" as dumbing it down?
LAUER: No. I mean if that was his intention to relate dumbing it down to the "Today Show," then, you know, do I take offense? I go back to my original statement, Larry, is I'm not sure what the upside is for Dan Rather being removed from the situation right now to make that kind of comment. But again I have great respect for him. I'm not sure what caused him to do it.
KING: Do you think he still might be angry?
LAUER: I mean I think a lot of people who listened to the comments and who read the articles in the paper that both you and I have read might attach that meaning to it, that maybe there's bitterness there. But again I think it's time to move on. And I think, you know, enough has been said about Katie. You know she's a friend of mine and someone I worked with for, you know, more than 10 years.
KING: Terrific girl.
LAUER: Terrific. And you know I think there's something that's been unfair in dealing with this situation over there is -- and I spoke to Katie a lot before she left, but after it was known that she was going to CBS and I do not -- I never got the feeling from Katie that she thought she was going to go over there and change the game like this, that the playing field would just be turned upside down. I think she thought -- as a matter of fact she said this to me on a number of occasions, this was going to be a long process and there were going to be advances and setbacks. And so I don't think she ascribed to the hype that was attached to her move. And as a result I don't think she should be penalized for what is, I think, a normal feeling out period.
KING: Do you think CBS will stay the course with her?
LAUER: I don't know. I can't read their minds.
KING: You never know about management.
LAUER: You never do. And I hope they do and I hope they give the show a fair shot because any of us who works in this business, none of us wants to be the victim of a knee-jerk reaction. You know there's some things that just take time. I mean look at the history of some of the shows in primetime that went on to become huge successes like, "M*A*S*H" and "Cheers," and things like that, where in the beginning they were -- you know what, they fell flat.
KING: "60 Minutes."
LAUER: "60 minutes." You know let's give somebody a chance and let's not -- but up above all, let's not make it personal.
KING: Next, what in the world is Matt going to think of the surprise we have in store for him. And I'll tell how big of a surprise it is. I don't know what it is! Find out next when we come back.
Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, superstar Angelina Jolie on adoption, activism and the true story of terror and triumph behind a great new film, "A Mighty Heart." And then Friday, movie legend Al Pacino uncut in a rare one-on-one. And next week, the always outspoken, Judge Judy, gives her verdict on Paris in the slammer. And so does the always outrageous Kathy Griffin. It's all ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: The concert, you guys have been extraordinarily involved in every aspect. This isn't the case of the two sons signing off on the last minute. What was the idea? And what did you want to accomplish with it?
PRINCE WILLIAM: Basically the idea came from just both of us talking. And again the same -- you know we didn't want to have remorse. We wanted a concert with a lot of energy. We wanted it to be of what she brought. And so, this is sort of the best way of doing it. And we wanted to make the concert a bit more edgy with a dark side of things as well versus the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back. As we've said we've always loved Matt's "Where in The World Segments?" and that gave me a great idea for my show. What do you think?
LAUER: I like the legs in the kilt, Larry. It's better than mine by the way.
KING: That is really funny stuff.
LAUER: It's fun to look where we've been. Gosh, it's been a long, long haul.
KING: How did that start?
LAUER: A meeting, a quirky meeting. Someone said, you know, look, let's do travel. We'd always done travel on the morning shows. It was kind of a staple of morning fare. And someone in the meeting said I've got a great idea and a new wrinkle, why don't we just, you know, not tell anybody where he's going. And then somebody said why don't we not tell Matt where he's going. And then kind of middle there, Jeff Zucker and Michael Bass, who was one of the senior producers at the time, said, you know, there's a germ here. There's something that we can actually, you know, play off of here. Let's send him on a trip and not tell Katie or Al or Ann where he's going.
KING: And it really leaks?
LAUER: You know if it does leak, I think people have really gotten good about the fact -- I think people understand it's more found to play along than to blow the surprise. There was one example -- a real quick story -- where one of our producers was in Venice one time having lunch at Harry's Bar, sitting with his wife. It was like an anniversary dinner, talking about the trip that was coming in the week after because he was going to be part of it. At the next table was a guy, who was at that time anchoring for ABC, who overheard every single destination. And not been told enough to their great credit, ABC found out about the destinations before we went and never leaked one of them to the press. Never leaked one despite the competitive atmosphere in the morning, never leaked one. I think that's a great testament.
KING: You were at the White House and the president came out with a "People" magazine and you were in a bathing suit? LAUER: I was doing an interview with President Bush to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11. We were taping it to air on our anniversary show. And there had been some crazy photo of me in a bathing suit in "People" magazine and so, I'm in the Oval Office waiting for President Bush to walk out. He comes out of his private office walking out, holding the magazine, which I thought was what a way to break the ice, right, with the most powerful man in the world.
KING: Why is Paris Hilton a story?
LAUER: I ask myself that question a lot.
KING: Me too.
LAUER: You know I really do, I have to say. We go back and forth at our show. I think it's -- people kid me a lot about it. That's not in my power alley. It's really not. It's not the kind of story that gets me out of bed in the morning. I understand -- you know you ask me why it's a story and the only answer I can have and the most intelligent answer I can give you, Larry, is when I'm out with friends and I'm out at events and things like that, people talk about it. People do ask questions about it.
KING: What about the...
LAUER: But is it a vicious circle? Is it because we've created the circle? I don't know.
KING: Those who say the media should tell the story to -- not do what public wants...
KING: ...but give what is. For instance, Edward R. Murrow...
KING: ...let's use him as a standard. Would he do this story?
LAUER: I don't think he would have but I think the times were very different. I think what's news these days have -- the definition of news has changed somewhat. It doesn't mean that we still don't go after the important stories, that we don't cover Iraq to the degree that we should be covering it. We don't cover immigration reform which he did again today and we did it yesterday, and we're going to do until there is some kind of solution, that we don't cover health care, that we don't cover the presidential race, which we will. We'll go crazy on it. But there are certain tabloid- type stories that rise above the norm.
KING: Given that, but why...
LAUER: Anna Nicole Smith, another example. How many times did you do stories on Anna Nicole Smith?
KING: We did it last night. We did Larry Birkhead. LAUER: We do too. There are certain stories that people can't help but talk about.
KING: Except the puzzling thing about her is, what does she do?
LAUER: What has she done?
KING: What has she done?
LAUER: What has she done except, you know, get in her car drunk one time and then go get in the car again with, you know, an expired license? It's a difficult question. Why are we so celebrity obsessed? Why do we care who's on the cover of "People" magazine. And why do we care who's on the cover of "Us Weekly"? The answer is I don't know but we do.
KING: It is what it is.
LAUER: It is.
KING: Back with some more moments with Matt Lauer, one of my favorite people. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: What do you think it'll take to get the paparazzi to leave you alone?
BRITNEY SPEARS, MUSICIAN: I don't know. I don't know.
LAUER: Is that one of your biggest wishes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: You admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So what? Why is that now within the law?
LAUER: The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law.
BUSH: Well, we disagree with them.
LAUER: Well, you made personally...
BUSH: My job is to protect this country, Matt.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We have an e-mail question from Robin in Mechanicsville, Virginia: "Who's the most fascinating person you've interviewed and why?"
LAUER: You know I'm one of these people who tends to think that the ordinary people are more fascinating than the celebrities and even the politicians. Celebrities and politicians are practiced, you know. I mean they've been asked these questions a hundred times. I like to catch someone who's an ordinary person who finds themselves in extraordinary circumstances and get them at a point where they haven't had a chance to think about what they want to say.
But I think anytime you sit down with the president of the United States, whether -- however you feel about the politics of that person, going into the Oval Office or sitting down with the most powerful person arguably in the world, that interview becomes fascinating because you've got to bring your "A" game. If you mess that up, you mess it up on a big stage.
KING: I think you mentioned celebritydom. How do you feel about being a tabloid target yourself?
LAUER: I think it makes me more understanding of the people I often interview. I think it makes me a little kinder when I deal with certain touchy subjects because I've had a chance to walk in the supermarket or walk past the newsstand and see my on the face on the cover of things with stories that are not necessarily true.
So I take everything with a grain of salt. I'm not as gullible when it comes to the rumors I've heard about other people. And I also think I draw the line a little earlier. You know before I had the experience personally, I may have gone off and asked a little bit more personal-touchy questions. I tend to draw the line before I get to that spot now.
KING: Do you feel that your personal life, marriage or whatever is nobody's business?
LAUER: Well, it's hard to argue that because, you know, it's the same reason is Paris Hilton's life my business or is Anna Nicole Smith's life my business. Do I wonder why people are interested in it? Absolutely. I don't think I'm all that interesting. I mean I'm a guy who does a morning show and goes to bed at 9:00 every night. I mean I don't have a lot in my life that's really fascinated or fodder for tabloids.
KING: Speaking of the morning show, how much longer do you want to do it?
LAUER: You know I've got several more years on the contract. I don't know. At a point, you know, at a fairly young age, I'd love to go off and be Mr. Dad not be Mr. Mom. But not that my wife won't be there as an integral part of their lives, but I'd love to -- I want to coach little league. I want to coach soccer. I want to take them to school every day. So this schedule didn't allow me to be there. I'm never there in the morning when they wake up except on weekends. KING: That's a joy because I take mine to school every day.
LAUER: See that. And I'll do that. At some point, I'll do that.
KING: Thanks Matt, always great seeing you.
LAUER: Good to see you.
KING: Not so long between visits.
LAUER: Next time, I'll be back sooner.
KING: Tomorrow night, Angelina Jolie. She's in an amazing new movie about the life and times of Daniel Pearl. Our text vote question of the night: Do you appreciate her more as an actor or as an activist? Text vote from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 26688, text KING A for actor, KING B for activist.
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