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Does Michael Vick Deserve A Second Chance?; Interview With Regis Philbin

Aired August 17, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Vick's brutality toward man's best friend shocked the nation when it happened. Vick says prison time taught him he did wrong.


MICHAEL VICK, NFL PLAYER: I was disgusted, you know, because of what I -- I let happen to those animals.


KING: Is his remorse real?

We'll meet a pit bull who survived it in Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.

And then, Regis Philbin -- does he think Michael Vick should be back on the NFL?

He's a great football fan.

How is his good pal, David Letterman, doing in the last night wars?

And is Kelly Ripa trying to drive Reg off their show using a Twitter?


REGIS PHILBIN: You know, this is going to become a distraction to the show. Hmmm, I can't wait.


KING: It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Michael Vick is on probation after serving 18 months in jail. He pled guilty to being part of a dog fighting operation. Vick and his partners executed dogs by various methods, including electrocution, hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground.

When police raided Vick's property, they found 66 dogs and exhumed the bodies of eight more.

He's now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. It's conditional pending the decisions of the commissioner -- football Commissioner Roger Goodell. He will be allowed to play in two exhibition games and could be activated by early as the fifth or sixth game of the season.

Our panel in Washington is James Brown. He interviewed Michael yesterday on "60 Minutes." He's host of CBS' "The NFL Today" and his book, "Role of A Lifetime," comes out next month.

Also in Washington is John Goodwin of the Humane Society of the United States. He manages the animal fighting campaign. He works regularly with law enforcement agencies on drug fighting issues.

Here in L.A. Is Lisa Lange, senior vice president of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

And in Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan, sports columnist with the "Philadelphia Inquirer".

Before we ask you anything, let's take a look at a clip of Vick's interview yesterday.



VICK: The first day I walked into prison and they slammed that door, I knew, you know, the magnitude of the decisions that I made and the poor judgment and what I you know, allowed to happen to the animals. And, you know, there's no way of, you know, explaining, you know, the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights.


KING: OK, Lisa, is he working for PETA now?

Is he doing promotional stuff?

LISA LANGE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF PETA: No. We met with Michael Vick back before he went to prison. And he lied to us, as he lied to so many other people, about his actions, basically saying he didn't have anything directly to do with it, that he didn't do anything to his own pets. And later it came out that he actually threw some of his pets to the pit bulls and watched as they were ripped apart.

KING: So you have no association at all?

LANGE: We have no association with him, no.

KING: Do you plan to picket Eagle games?

LANGE: You know, we're not taking anything off the table at this point. We're keeping an eye out on things. This issue has become such a big issue and it's more than about this one man. And, unfortunately, with the NFL giving him his job back and with the Eagles signing him, our fear, of course, is that the message is that you can fight dogs, you can hang them. And he stood there as eight dogs hung from nooses. And some of them didn't die from strangulation -- and then had them -- had them shot.

KING: Is the other message, though, if you do your time in prison, we won't hire you back, you -- you paid your debt, that don't mean anything?

LANGE: Well, no. I think that the gift to him is that he is not in prison anymore. He did a reduced sentence...

KING: That's the only gift?

So he suffers the rest of his life...

LANGE: Well, he...

KING: job, nowhere?

LANGE: the rest of us, he gets a job.

But should he be rewarded with a multimillion contract?

We think no.

KING: That's if the owner wants to pay it.

All right, James Brown, what was your impression during the interview?

JAMES BROWN, INTERVIEWED MICHAEL VICK FOR "60 MINUTES," HOST, CBS' "THE NFL TODAY": Larry, my impression -- and, again, it's against the backdrop of two previous meetings that I had with Michael Vick, once in Leavenworth, Kansas, in prison for an hour; and a three hour visit during home detention.

And, Larry, all I can tell you is at least during the interview, he was consistent with what I use as a baseline to determine whether or not he was being consistent in his answers and not prepped answers, if you will.

KING: Do you -- how do we know if someone is really remorseful, James?

BROWN: I think that's purely subjective. Everybody has, if you will...

KING: Sure.

BROWN: ...a floating standard for determining whether or not some people are being truthful and remorseful, whether it's body language, whether it's what they say or how they say. All I can tell you is that I tried to probe to get to the core of the answers in those areas that I know most people had concerns and questions to determine for themselves whether or not he was being truthful.

KING: John Goodwin, what's the Humane Society's position on all of this?

JOHN GOODWIN, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S.: Well, we're giving Michael Vick a platform to speak out against dog fighting. His people approached us in January and said that he wanted, when he came out, to make amends, to try to become a leader, to speak out against dog fighting.

And in the humane movement, we have a history of this sort of thing. We have people that were former fur trappers that became the most ad -- the strongest advocates against fur trapping. We have people who performed horrible acts of cruelty on animals in laboratories that then later became the biggest critic of that sort of research. And we also have reformed dog fighters involved in our community outreach programs in Chicago, in Atlanta.

And we find that sometimes those are the best advocates for speaking out against a particular form of cruelty.

KING: Bill Sheridan, sports columnist, the "Philadelphia Inquirer," do you have a problem with him playing for your team -- or not your -- the team you root for, but the team you cover?

PHIL SHERIDAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": Yes, absolutely, Larry. It's what you just said a few minutes ago when you were talking to Lisa there, the owner chose to pay him and that gives Michael Vick the right to play in the NFL, because someone chose to pay him. I was a shocked and quite a bit chagrined that this owner of this team, given his history and the team's stated philosophies about high character players and trying to win that way, without bringing in people with criminal pasts.

It just flew in the face of all of that and I found that shocking. And a lot of the fan base here in Philadelphia has found it shocking, too.

KING: Phil, aren't we a nation, though, supposedly, that forgives, the Judeo-Christian ethic?

SHERIDAN: I think there's a difference -- a difference between forgiving -- I mean I -- as a person, I certainly would hope that Michael Vick has a great life, that he is able to change as a person and be productive and a contributing member of society here, you know, henceforth. But I -- I don't necessarily want to root for him on a team, if I'm a fan, watching a team.

You know, sports fandom is an irrational thing. It's not a rational thing. It's about passion and emotion. And you don't necessarily know these guys that you root for, but you like to at least believe that they're people you could like, that you -- that you could, you know, get behind and believe in.

KING: So...

SHERIDAN: And it's pretty hard to start off with this kind of relationship with a player and then -- and then believe in him.

KING: So are you saying even if he's paid his debt to society, he can't earn a livelihood in his profession?

SHERIDAN: No, I'm not saying that he can't. I'm saying that it shocks me that this team chose to hire him. And a lot of the fans here are having the same problem -- being asked to root for a player that they, you know, again, this -- you know, Michael played in Atlanta before this, before all this happened. He has no real history in Philadelphia.

This -- the crimes happened over a period of years. The news broke over two years ago.

For people here, there's -- their opinion of Michael Vick has been set in concrete. It's had two years to harden. You know, you kind of know what you think of this and the shocking...

KING: Yes.

SHERIDAN: ...the shocking actions that he -- that he was, you know, guilty of -- of taking. And that doesn't -- you know, just being asked to erase that now because he's put on a green jersey is just asking a lot of fans, I think.

KING: But if they keep winning and he plays great football, you know fans.

SHERIDAN: You know fans. And it will be interesting to see how that develops, if it goes that way. And he is a very talented football player. There's no getting around that.

KING: All right, tell me about...

SHERIDAN: So it will be interesting to see.

KING: Hold on, Phil. We'll come...


KING: We'll come right back.

Coming up in a little while, we'll have a dog rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting operation.

Stay with us.


KING: Hi. I'm Larry.

Do you want to keep up with me off-camera?

You can follow me now on Twitter, find me on Facebook. Go to Sign up. Let's be friends.

Four months ago to the day, we started Twittering. I'm honored to report, we're almost at a million followers. We just hit that milestone during one hour tonight. We might hit it during one hour tonight. So I'm being optimistic.

Follow Kings Things on Twitter and when we reach a million, you'll hear it right here. Back to the panel.

Let's take another look at the clip from that terrific interview that James Brown conducted on "60 Minutes."


VICK: All because of the so-called culture that I thought was right. And I thought it was cool. And I thought it was, you know, it was fun and it was exciting at the time. It all led to me landing in prison by myself, with nobody to talk to but myself.

BROWN: Who do you blame for all of this?

VICK: I blame me.


KING: Now, what about culture, Lisa Lange?

We grew up in a culture. People grow up in Mexico, they go to bull fights. That's a culture. They torment the bull and they kill the bull. People work in slaughterhouses.


KING: They accept it as a way of life.

You -- where do you draw a line here?

LANGE: Well, I think we have to look at all of it, really. I think, in Michael Vick's case, what's different to us is that he didn't just have a side role in this, he ran it. He was there...

KING: But he grew up with it.

LANGE: Yes, a lot of people did, though. And he went down one path. This is a man who had everything. He had a multimillion contract. He was the highest paid quarterback in football, I think.

KING: He was.

LANGE: And he had everything, but he still did this. It was a -- it was a macho thing. Maybe he did see it when he was young, but the bottom line was he knew it was illegal and he continued.

This man is saying he feels bad for what he did now, but remember, this was six years in the making and the only reason he stopped is because he was caught.

And the difference here, too, between this man and maybe someone else who ran a fur farm or something else is that he took part. He stood there. He watched as the animals were being drowned, clawing to get out of the pool as they were being electrocuted. He watched as they were being asphyxiated, ordered their death, shot them, took part in their deaths.

KING: All right. And he was convicted, served time for that.

LANGE: But...

KING: Now, when does it end?

LANGE: Well...

KING: If he's out, does he...

LANGE: He needs counseling.

KING: Does he deserve a second chance?

LANGE: Well, he needs...

KING: No second chance?

LANGE: What he needs is a lot of psychological counseling before we even...

KING: How do you know he isn't getting it?

LANGE: Well, he could be getting it now, but he hasn't had enough. There are very few people in the world who can actually do that and walk away and not be horrified by those (INAUDIBLE).

KING: James, do you think the commissioner has handled this well?

BROWN: Larry, I would definitely say yes. I think he has been -- he's done his homework. He's touched a number of bases in making the decision. And Michael, right now, has a conditional reinstatement. He's not permanently reinstated. So he's watching this very, very closely. And he knows -- and he's indicated this to Michael -- that he's got a very narrow line to walk and the final decision rests with the commissioner.

I think his history has shown, since he's taken over the National Football League, that he's very serious about ensuring that behavior is consistent, with the notion to play in the National Football League is a privilege and not a right.

KING: Phil, would you have banned him from playing?

SHERIDAN: No, I don't think that's the right way to go. I -- it's a fine line to walk. But I -- I feel like Goodell did the right thing by reinstating him, making it possible for him to get a job if somebody would give him one.

Where I had trouble is with the Eagles being the team that chose to give him one. There have been teams over the years that really didn't care about a player's background or his past, what he did before, what his character might be. The Eagles have -- have taken this high road very, very publicly and have made a big point of this, over time, we don't do this.

KING: And, so, in other words...

SHERIDAN: And that's why it's shocking for me.

KING: ...if the Raiders signed him, you wouldn't have complained about the Raiders signing him?

SHERIDAN: Well, the Raiders signing him, it would be consistent. The Cowboys have had a few guys last year such as Pacman Jones and Saint Johnson.

KING: Yes.

SHERIDAN: And they -- and they have -- they have carefully gotten rid of some of those guys, too. They -- I think they found that, you know, you can't necessarily build a team around that kind of guy.

As early as August -- as recently as August 3rd, Jeff Lurie, the Eagles' owner, had a press conference at training camp and said one of the reasons for the team's success the last 10 years -- and they've been pretty good consistently for 10 years -- is that they've built with high character coaches, high character players, those kinds of people. And it comes through when it counts.

And within a few weeks, you sign Mike Vick, who is, arguably, the most notorious player to return to the league.

KING: Yes.

Now, John, do you believe in forgiveness?

GOODWIN: Oh, I absolutely believe in forgiveness. I believe in redemption. I go to work every day to campaign for a more humane society. That's why we're called the Humane Society of the United States.

If I don't believe that people can change, then why do I even get out of bed and bother with all of this?

Now, has Michael Vick changed?

I don't know. His actions will have to determine that. That's where we'll find out.

So far, he's made appearances for us in Atlanta and in Chicago and spoken to about 200 young men -- men who are exposed to dog fighting in their neighborhoods every single week.

And I can tell you this, the dogs that can be saved from this, they're not going to be questioning sincerity. They're just going to benefit from not being thrown into a pit to be torn to pieces.

But I do believe that, in the long run, we'll find out if he means what he says or not. KING: Next, we're going to meet a lucky dog. Georgia was rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting operation and she's here in 60 seconds.


KING: Joining us now in Las Vegas is John Garcia, Best Friends Animal Society. He's seen on the "National Geographic" series "Dogtown." He's been working with Georgia -- that's the dog right there -- one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.

What was -- what was Georgia like when you came in contact with her?

JOHN GARCIA, WORKS WITH FORMER VICK DOG "GEORGIA," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S "DOGTOWN": Well, Larry, Georgia's come a long way. You know, when I first met her, she could pretty much just care less for humans. She had a laundry list of issues -- behavior issues that we had to overcome for her to get to this point where you see her now today.

And now she's a -- a great spokesmodel for the breed and to show people that these dogs do deserve a second chance and that they can be rehabilitated.

KING: She was forced to breed?

GARCIA: Correct. Yes. We -- we're not entirely sure of the dogs' histories, for the most part. But Georgia is a dog where the scars definitely tell the tale. I mean, when we first got her, from head to tail she was covered in scars. She had been forcibly bred. She had been over bred several times.

And the poor girl was -- was traumatized. I mean she was definitely tormented for a majority of her life.

Now the past is behind her and she's a very happy dog. In fact, we get to go a lot of very fun places and she absolutely enjoys cameras and -- and just loves to be the true diva that she is.

KING: She has no teeth?

GARCIA: No, she doesn't. They could have been pulled out for forced breeding or for sparring, but we're not entirely sure. But, yes, she came to us with absolutely no teeth whatsoever.

KING: Does she still have any problems?

GARCIA: At this point, she does have some hurdles that she still needs to overcome. When she come to us, obviously, she was very dog aggressive. And I don't blame her. I mean she was being put in situations where she had to literally fight for her life.

And -- and with a dog like Georgia, she is so incredibly loyal and so determined, that no matter what is -- what face -- what she faces in life, she will overcome it. By building a relationship with a dog, you can really take them a long way and help them -- help bring out their potential. You know, I didn't really do much with Georgia. She's the one that did it all on her own. I just helped her choose that path.

KING: Are you saying pit bulls don't deserve their reputation?

GARCIA: Oh, absolutely not. You know, before I could even crawl, I've had a piti in my life. And I joke around a lot and I say that there's no such thing as a pit bull at best friends, we only have pitis and cupcakes. But in all seriousness, you know, this was a very serious case. And these dogs were literally tortured. I mean it was very -- it was a very tough life to live. I couldn't even imagine it.

But, you know, a dog like Georgia here, who has come so far so quickly, is just a true testament to this breed, on how resilient, how loyal, how determined they are and how athletic. I mean if they're raised properly...

KING: What are your...

GARCIA: Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

What are your thoughts on the Michael Vick question?

GARCIA: Well, I would want to say that the work that we do with animals should be enough of an opinion for us. And, at the same time, "Dogtown" is the home of second chances. I mean we definitely pride ourself in that. And that does go for humans, as well.

But we'd like to show the work that we've done with the dogs and focus on the -- the future and not dwell on the past.

KING: We salute you, John.

GARCIA: Oh, thank you.

KING: John Garcia of Best Friends Animal Society.

James Brown and representatives of PETA, the Humane Society and the "Philadelphia Inquirer" back after the break.


KING: Right back with the panel.

Let's check another clip from James Brown's interview yesterday.



BROWN: Do you understand why people are outraged? VICK: I understand why. And I'm going to say it again, it sickens me to my stomach. And it was -- you know, the same feeling I'm feeling right now is what people was feeling.

BROWN: And the feeling you're feeling right now is?

VICK: Disgust. Pure disgust.


KING: All right, why -- why not believe him, Lisa, and give him the chance to help PETA?

LANGE: Well, there are a couple of things here. If he convinces one young person in this program that he's involved in not to fight dogs, it's a good thing.

KING: Correct.

LANGE: There is absolutely no doubt. So if he can do that, it's a good thing.

The bigger message here, unfortunately, is that he basically got away with it. And...

KING: Got away with it?

LANGE: I think he did.

KING: He went to jail.

LANGE: Well, not long enough. I think when you watch that interview, what follows, too, when he says he cries every night in jail and then Mr. Brown asks him, what were you -- I think he asks him, what were you crying about?

He said I've lost my career, I missed my family. And at the news conference, he talked about how he understands now how this is a nation of animal lovers and that he committed this horrific act and he should have stepped in.

What's missing from everything that he says is anything about those dogs. We still haven't heard him say that now I recognize when they were screaming and when they were struggling to get out of the nooses that they were fearful.

KING: All right. Fair enough.

John Goodwin, has he said that to you?

GOODWIN: He's made appearances in Chicago and Atlanta and expressed some pretty deep regret for torturing animals and told those kids directly, you need to care for your animals, you need to love your animals, the animals will stand by you; you know, they're our friends, they're our family members. And, you know, I'm willing to give him an opportunity to prove that he means it. And we're going to have him making more and more of these appearances, hopefully twice a month, because I think he can be a game changer in challenging this epidemic of dog fighting that's so pervasive around our country.

KING: Now, Phil, economically, we live in a capitalistic society. If the Eagles want to pay them they can pay him. If Mr. Goodell wants to let him play, he can let him play. And Vick could have gone to the courts, by the way, for the right to play. And that might have been an interesting case in the Supreme Court since football is not covered by restraint of trade, as baseball is.

It could be a very interesting matter.

Why not, Phil -- all right, let's do it economically -- why don't Eagle fans stay home?

SHERIDAN: Well, they might. I think the Eagles calculated that -- you know, they have a waiting list for season tickets and the games are all sold out. They're not -- they don't need to sell another ticket. So they didn't -- they didn't sign Mike Vick to sell another ticket.

But, you know, there is -- there is a bit of a backlash now. We'll see how -- how much people will get behind that and stay with it, once they get over the initial shock of this. You're right, once they start winning and Michael Vick starts contributing, there's a good chance that people will start to come around on him a little bit.

You know, it's a -- it's a risky thing, from an economic standpoint, for the Eagles, because they have corporate sponsors who -- who may get and have been getting some complaints, people saying they'll boycott products, that kind of thing.

But people do have to follow it through. If that -- if that sort of thing is going to have an impact on the team, fans really have to follow it through and not just -- not just talk -- talk a good game.

KING: James Brown, we know how tough a town Philadelphia is as a sports town. And someone quipped once they would boo a cure for cancer.

We do know, however, James, that if Michael Vick, in the Philadelphia Eagles' first home game, plays at a flanker position, catches a pass, runs 27 yards for a touchdown and the Eagles go on to win, he will be a hero, will he not?

BROWN: As it relates to the game of football, yes...

KING: Correct.

BROWN: ...and speaking very specifically, very myopically with respect to that.

You know, the distinction still is, on a human level and on a more fundamental level, will people be willing to forgive?

And believe me, I clearly understand why people have the feelings that they do. Make no mistake about it, what he did was wrong. It was -- it was barbarous treatment, as we said.

And let me just clarify, as well, too, because in the interview, Michael Vick did say, as he delineated the reasons why he felt bad, the first thing he said is because of what I did.

Might it have been nicer if he was very clear about that?

Yes. But he did say what about it -- he said what I did.

The second thing is I did ask him very specifically after he, again, delineated all the other reasons why he felt bad about being in prison, I did ask him very pointedly, Michael, what about the dogs?

The dogs, Michael?

And he did answer that specifically. And at least the way I gleaned it, from the chair that I was sitting in, there was a fair amount of pain associated with that.

And, again, I'm not excusing the culture, if you will, or the fact that he was indoctrinated early on, as a youngster, at eight or nine years an age, seeing older people in the community do that or police officers coming through the neighborhood and seeing a crowd of people watching the dog fighting, getting out and making certain there were no fisticuffs going on in the crowd, looking at the dog fighting, getting back in a police cruiser and driving off -- in essence, showing tacit approval for what was going on.

It doesn't make it right, because certainly, by the time Michael became an adult, he absolutely understood right from wrong. And he indicated that, as well.

KING: Yes.

We're back with more.

And then we'll meet Regis Philbin.

More with the panel after this.



VICK: I made a horrible mistake. Now I want to be part of the solution and not the problem.


KING: Let's get a call in.

Sterling, New Jersey, hello. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, hi.

I'm just wondering, why isn't the NFL being held more accountable?

He's just capitalizing on an opportunity he has now. I mean if the fans are really serious about this issue, boycott the games.

KING: James, should the NFL had been toucher -- tougher, rather?

BROWN: Larry, I think the NFL has been tough and still is. Again, because Michael has not been fully reinstated. You know, let me just say that from a personal standpoint, I don't think any of us here are condoning the actions at all. Let's be perfectly clear about that.

However, as John Goodwin stated earlier with respect to forgiveness, the natural extension of that is redemption. And what does that mean? That means by any metric you look at what he does from here. And if, in fact, he can be proactive to minimize and reduce the number of kids out here who are engaging in dog fighting or introduced early, then I think, you know what, it's been a real positive thing. That's the target population that Michael says he's going after with the Humane Society. He can have a much greater impact than us continuing to vilify him.

KING: I've got to break soon. But shouldn't we wish him well, Lisa?

LANGE: We have to wish the dogs well. We have to wish the kids well they're going to take away from him.

KING: If he helps them, would he wish him well to do that?

LANGE: We wish this program success, absolutely. And back to the NFL, they haven't added cruelty to animals to their personal conduct policy. Let's be clear. Roger Goodell signed him back because he thinks it's good for football. He thinks it's going to make the league money. The Eagles signed him because he thinks it's going to make the team money. The dogs be damned. So while we're sitting here talking about remorse and does he feel bad, is this a nation of second chances? A lost of these dogs didn't get second chances.

KING: Thank you, all. We haven't heard the last of this. We'll have all of you back. And we appreciate you coming. And Regis, the man only needs one name, it's Philbin. A joke there. A broadcasting legend, my hero and national treasure. He's next.


KING: He's one of my favorite people on the planet. He's the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kelly" and he markets the 10th anniversary of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" by hosting a return of that show to a special primetime run. Good to have him with us. Before we ask about this, Regis, what do you make of this Michael Vick thing?

REGIS PHILBIN, TV HOST: Well, it's obviously true that he did it. He has paid the price. He's back now trying to get a job on what he did before he went into the prison. I say, bring him back and I think he'd be a tremendous asset if we works for the Humane Society in teaching kids who are getting involved in this kind of a vicious situation to think twice about it and to get on the other side of the equation.

KING: Lots of things to talk about. Why do this -- they said you can't go home again. Why do this show again?

PHILBIN: It was a thrill, Larry. I loved it the first time I saw it when it was still in Brooklyn -- in England. And I just wanted the chance to do it. I finally got a chance. It wasn't easy but I got it. The show is a tremendous success. I went to see "Slumdog Millionaire" this year like so many other people and there was the show. And they were doing the whole thing. The lights coming down and the music coming up. I got excited sitting in my little theater seat. I thought it was great and I missed it all the more. And so happy that ABC thought of it and said, hey, it's the 10th anniversary, let's bring it back for 10 or 11 shows, which is what we're in the middle of right now.

KING: But it's a rougher go this time, isn't it?

PHILBIN: Well, sure it is, you know. First of all, the show isn't going to surprise anybody. Meredith Vieira has been doing it in the afternoon now for the last seven, eight years. But it's a fun show for me to do. And I think for people to see, too, I think it's something different in primetime. And Larry, between us, primetime needs a lot of help.

KING: You're not kidding. By the way, when you first -- when this show was first conceived, you appeared on this program and tried to explain it to us. It was insane. You can call the company, you can get a friend.

PHILBIN: Exactly. That's what appealed to me. Things we had never thought of before in relation to a game show. You can have all these partners. Picking up the phone, you're calling your father, whatever it is, you know? The audience could vote on it. I thought it was great. Now we've added a couple of more things, too.

Now we have an expert, Wolf Blitzer was one of our experts the other night. He was very good. You can actually ask the expert what he thinks of the question.

I think it's still a wonderful show, but now, of course, cable has become a giant. There's a lot more competition out there and so it's difficult to get those blockbuster ratings we got the first time. But I didn't think we were going to do that all over again. I'm just thinking that it's an excellent addition to what else is on TV.

KING: One of your joys, Regis, is you love what you do, don't you? PHILBIN: I really do.

KING: You're doing it, you love it.

PHILBIN: That's about it, yeah. I love -- I didn't think I was going to like a game show as much as I liked this one. I also loved "Password," too, over on CBS for the last couple of years. I think those are outstanding shows. But of course the millionaire has that million-dollar prize and has got all those lifelines. And I just think that's maybe the greatest game show we've ever had.

KING: All right, couple other things. We have some Twitter questions for you via -- going to ask you about Twitter. They picked new people for "Dancing with the Stars." I turned it down four years ago. Would you do it?

PHILBIN: No, I can't dance. I don't want to turn that hard. You actually turned it down four years ago?

KING: Yeah.

PHILBIN: It made a new man of Jerry Springer. Look what it did for him, Larry.

KING: Regis ...

PHILBIN: Knock on the door and tell them you're ready now.

KING: You've got to work all week, Regis.

PHILBIN: Oh, I know you do.

KING: Eight hours a day. Who needs it?

PHILBIN: You know, they just gave out some rules. I think you work five hours, you get an hour off and then you can work five more. Something like that, but they're lightening up on the health regulations.

KING: Why is this show so big?

PHILBIN: You know, it's amazing, isn't it? And why do we have to go to Great Britain to get the great shows in our country?

KING: Yes, why there?

PHILBIN: One after the other they come out of Great Britain and they're tremendous hits. Well, I think all of a sudden people are introduced to dancing, that is quite exciting, the addition of the celebrity going with a qualified choreographer. I just thought it was a great idea. And more and more the dancing shows are springing up all over the TV. I'm amazed you're not dancing with, how about the -- who's the girl -- who would you rather -- who would you like to dance with on CNN, Larry? Come on, let's hear it.

KING: All right. I'd like to dance with Campbell Brown. PHILBIN: There you go. I think she'd be just great for you.


PHILBIN: You make a great pair.

KING: Regis, what to you make of Tom Delay being one of the dancers?

PHILBIN: Wow, they're really reaching out, aren't they?

KING: That's a stretch.

PHILBIN: It sure is. That's one of the great things about the show, that you really never know who's going to be on from whatever category of life they're from. So Tom Delay I think is the first politician, am I right?

KING: I think so, too, yeah.

PHILBIN: I think he is.

KING: Donny Osmond I bet does well.

PHILBIN: Oh, I bet he does, too. He's an accomplished entertainer. I'm sure he's done a lot of dancing in his time.

KING: Let's move to our friend, David Letterman. He's beating Conan in the overall ratings but not in the demo.

PHILBIN: Yeah, not yet, anyway, sure. Conan always had that big, young audience which is very, very important in our business as you know, Larry. Everything is about the young. They've got all the money.

KING: You're not kidding.

PHILBIN: Anyway, it's an interesting race. And Dave has gone ahead in total audience. I'm here in New York. I'm on with Dave a lot and I enjoy him very much.

KING: What did you make of that thing with Sarah Palin and him?

PHILBIN: I thought that was a small thing that had blown out of proportion. Finally he kind of put it behind him, though. I think the next night, you know, and I'm sure everybody picks on Sarah Palin. And she's up to here with it. But I don't think he understood the ages of the kids he was talking about.

KING: We'll be back with Regis Philbin. "Who Wants be a Millionaire" now airs what night, Regis?

PHILBIN: Every night Sunday through Thursday this week and next Sunday as well.

KING: Sunday through Thursday this week and next Sunday? PHILBIN: Right.

KING: Back with more Regis in 60 seconds.


KING: Our guest is Regis Philbin. What do you make of the Jay Leno 10:00 thing?

PHILBIN: Boy, I'm interested to see how that turns out. You know, I thought for a long time, that why not let Jay and David Letterman take a crack at that? Sometimes the programming is so weak that I feel they put on a better show than what we have at 10:00 at night. So give Jay a chance and let's see what he can do. I think he's going to be OK. On certain nights, I think he's going to do just great.

KING: Your show, "Live," has joined the world of Twitter, something you're not exactly thrilled about. Let's take a look.


PHILBIN: What's new on your Tweeter? The Twitter is a distraction in your life.

KELLY RIPA, TALK SHOW HOST: You should get onboard and you should start Twittering. People want to hear from you.

PHILBIN: Every morning I tell them what I'm doing.

RIPA: Sometimes they want to read it, they don't want to hear it.

PHILBIN: Just say no, Regis, Twitter is like a drug. You will become addicted. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Problem, real big problem.

RIPA: I'm not addicted to twitter. Excuse me for a second.


KING: Why does it bug you so much, Rege? Why does it bother you?

PHILBIN: Well, I don't know, Larry. You know, I'm computer free. Are you a computer -- can you work the computer?

KING: No, I'm computer free. However, I Twitter but I have my top producers Twitter for me. In other words, I give them things and they send it out. It's an ego trip.

PHILBIN: Larry, that's the -- of course it's an ego trip. It's a celebrity ego trip, you know, and celebrities are taking advantage of it and Twittering out information like it's a little publicity tour for them. Sorry, I just can't get it. I don't want to be bothered with it and so I don't participate. KING: My wife loves it. She can't stop.

PHILBIN: It's becoming -- it's very addictive, I think. And when you've got a co-host on the show with you who is really addicted to it, major distraction. We're going to have to overcome it when she comes back from vacation.

KING: Four months ago to this day we started Twittering. Now we're almost at 1 million followers. Follow me on Twitter. And when we reach a million, we'll announce it on this show.

PHILBIN: Excuse me, Larry, how many followers do you have? Do you know?

KING: What's our total, Greg? 980,000. If we can do 20,000 more followers tonight, Regis, you can bring it for us, Regis. Bring them in, 20,000 more. Bam, we're in.

PHILBIN: I hate that word, we have so many followers. It's the worst. Get out of it, Larry. Let it go. Don't get involved. Be like me. We'll get through this together.

KING: Follow me where we go.

PHILBIN: Listen, wait a minute. Larry, I want to talk to you about something. I'm here in New York and you're out there in California. And I don't know if I mentioned it on your show or not, but Larry King is one of the few guys I know who knows all those old songs you just heard him singing something.

But you know, I once went to Notre Dame and I showed Larry King Notre Dame, football game.

KING: Great day.

PHILBIN: We flew back, we had a wonderful time. We flew back on a little private plane and all of a sudden I heard Larry singing and old song. So, tonight, Larry, I would like to sing maybe the first line or two to a song and see if you can follow the -- give me the next line, OK?

KING: OK let's take a break and come back and we'll do this. This is called the grabber.

PHILBIN: You got it, Larry.

KING: We'll be right back with Regis.


KING: Before we get back to Regis, Anderson Cooper checks in. He'll host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Larry, hey, Regis. Tonight on "360," is President Obama backing away from a cornerstone of his health care reform plan? Government-backed insurance may be on the chopping block. If that's what it takes to get a deal done, we have all the angles tonight.

It's been also nearly 50 years since U.S. Supreme Court intervened to grant the appeal of an inmate on death row. But today it happened. We're going to tell you why in tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.

Also, the Milwaukee mayor who came to the rescue of a woman and her granddaughter and taking a beating for it. His brother speaking out tonight. We have those stories and more on "360" tonight, Larry.

KING: That's "A.C. 360," 10 Eastern, 7 Pacific. Back with Regis Philbin, he's back with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" through this week and Sunday night as well. Of course in primetime on ABC. We've got other questions but do you want to do a little music thing?

PHILBIN: Yeah, I do, I want find out how astute you were in the music library. Now I'm going to give you a line or two but don't sing the next line until I go like that. OK?

KING: All right.

PHILBIN: It was a lucky April shower, it was the most convenient door.

KING: I found a million dollar baby in a five and 10 cent store. She was selling china.

PHILBIN: Good Larry, very good. Here's the next one. Hey Larry, please, enough.


PHILBIN: Larry, you're sounding better than ever. OK, here's another one. I don't know why I love you like I do.

KING: I don't know why, I just do. I don't know why you thrill me like you do. I don't know why, you just do.

PHILBIN: Honest to God, you really astound me, Larry.

KING: Well I love music, like you, Rege. I love your album.

PHILBIN: But growing up as kids in New York. You know, this is...

KING: We listen to William B, right, sure.

PHILBIN: Oh, absolutely. Martin Block.

KING: That was our life.

PHILBIN: That was great stuff. One more, Larry. I can't give you anything but love, baby.

KING: That's the only thing I have plenty of, baby dream a while scheme a while, you're sure to find. Go.

PHILBIN: Happiness, and I guess all the things you always mind for.

KING: Gee, I'd love to see you.

PHILBIN: Can't stop him. You know, Larry, I know, have you made a record with Shawn, singing a few of these songs?

KING: We ought to do that.

PHILBIN: You know, you really should. I'm doing a CD with my wife, Joy, right now, here in New York and it's a lot of fun.

KING: Shawn's father always wanted me to do that. You know what we can do? You and I ought to do a male thing.

PHILBIN: Now wait a minute, Larry.

KING: Think about it.

PHILBIN: All right. I will. I will. Why not? Why can't two guys sing a song, too, you know what I mean?

KING: Why not? Hey, we've had a slew of questions on Twitter to us. One is, "Regis, would you consider updating your autobiography 'I'm Only One Man.' It's time!"

PHILBIN: You know, I've said it all. There's nothing really new except maybe "Millionaire" and a couple of albums. But I'm still doing the live show in the morning with Kelly now of course. So I don't have that much new to talk about. But I enjoyed writing the book. And I'm glad you liked it.

KING: Do you ever feel your age?

PHILBIN: No. Do you?

KING: No. I know it chronologically.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I don't even want to talk, I don't even want to mention it because I feel psychologically when I do. But physically, I feel fine.

KING: Yeah, me, too. Back with more with my man Regis Philbin. All you have to do is say Regis, hey, don't go away.



KING: We're back with Regis Philbin, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in primetime all this week, wrapping up Sunday. Your co- host Kelly Ripa was on the show earlier this month. We talked about you. Watch.


KING: If Regis ever hands it up, could you work as Mark and Kelly?

KELLY RIPA, TALK SHOW HOST: You know Larry, it's really funny, I always picture myself hanging it up way before Regis.


RIPA: I mean, honestly, he is that show. He is the light of that show and he carries that show and that is his baby. And I mean I never even think about that show without him.

KING: If Regis ever hangs it up...


KING: Oh, they cut out the last part. Rege, what do you make of that?

PHILBIN: I can't believe it. She'd grab Mark in a minute. And if he wasn't available, Anderson Cooper would get it. I'm telling you, maybe you, Larry. I don't trust any of you.

KING: Oh, there is always someone behind you, right, Rege.

PHILBIN: That's exactly right, believe me.

KING: I think Anderson Cooper wants it, Rege.

PHILBIN: Oh, please, he is right up the street or right down the street from where we are and he just sits outside every day and waits, is Regis coming in today? Is Regis coming in today? No, she's terrific and I appreciate all the things she said.

You know Larry, this show, this new "Millionaire" show has gotten a celebrity on each night. And we give them $25,000 and $50,000 if they answer one question correctly. And tonight for your viewers out on the West Coast, Patricia Heaton is on and I just watched it here in New York. It is really unbelievable. They are so nervous about coming up with the right answer that she totally loses it in a simple, but not simple, but an arithmetic question that finally, finally she deals with it. But it really unusual and pretty hilarious television.

KING: Would you bring the show back again, again like next fall?

PHILBIN: Larry, I would love to. But I don't know how the big boys feel about it. I think it should be on once a week, every night of the year -- every week of the year.

KING: Yes, prime time show.

PHILBIN: But anyway, whatever they want to go. Maybe I'll see you again in 10 years. I'm not sure, Larry, what is going to happen. But I do know this, that we have a million dollar moment in the remaining nights of the show through Thursday and then including next Sunday.

KING: You do?

PHILBIN: Yeah and it's really great television.

KING: Are you saying someone is going to win a million?

PHILBIN: Larry, I'm just calling ate million dollar moment, please.

KING: One other thing.


KING: Recently on your show, you are trying to beat athletes who are 100-years-old and over at their own game. Here's a sample, let's watch.


PHILBIN: Are you ready to go back to work?


PHILBIN: Let's go, come on, we've got to finish this game. Emma, Emma, Emma, for crying out loud.


KING: Regis, this is not going to get the demographic.

PHILBIN: No. I've got worry about that. But I decided that every now and then, we'll find a 100-year-old who is doing special things and we should salute them as well. And so that lady, 100-year- old lady out of New Jersey, a pretty good bowler. In fact, she is the top 100-year-old female bowler in the country, Larry King.

KING: We've got about 40 seconds. Notre Dame, this year, look good, not a bad schedule.

PHILBIN: Not a bad schedule. A little softer than usual. I'm hoping for at least 10-2. I would like to see a clean sweep. I would like to see them beat SC. It is time we defeated SC. And we can bring Charlie Weis and the whole team back in the good graces of all the fans to beat SC.

KING: They could never have a better fan than you. Up and down, you are there.

PHILBIN: And you were there for one day, too, Larry.

KING: What a day that was. That was a great day, just hosted by you. Regis, stay well, my friend.

PHILBIN: You, too, Larry. Thank you very much. KING: See you in New York. Regis Philbin, and don't forget, the 10th anniversary of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Ten years ago it started. The return all this week, big surprise night, a million- dollar moment coming. We don't know when that it or if it's a winner. Here is a winner, Anderson Cooper, "A.C. 360" who is gunning for Regis' job. He starts right now.