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CNN Larry King Live
Ling & Lee Reunited with Families
Aired August 05, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they're home -- American journalists Lara Logan and Euna Lee are back in the U.S. -- their harrowing five month ordeal as prisoners in North Korea over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA LING, FREED JOURNALIST: The past 140 days have been the most difficult, heart-wrenching time of our lives.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What did they endure?
Will they be OK?
Can they pick up with their lives?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CONSUELOS: A chilling attack.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: TV power couple Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos -- a rare interview together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONSUELO'S: And I think that's the key to our -- to our success.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: They'll talk about Oprah and their new baby, debuting later this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY RIPA: No request is left unanswered.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. It's been some turn of events for two women and their families who, just days ago, were in absolute despair. It all changed when Laura Ling and Euna Lee returned this morning to the arms of their loved ones and a country waiting to embrace them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA LING: Hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea. We feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp. And then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. We were taken to a location. And when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's check in with Dan Simon, our CNN correspondent.
He's in San Francisco, I believe right outside where Al Gore's headquarters are for his television network -- Dan, what's the latest on the family reunion?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi, Larry.
Well, as you said, this is where Current is based, here in San Francisco. But the two young women, they are based in Los Angeles. And we can tell you that they are home tonight after that very dramatic homecoming today.
And we're getting some early details about their treatment in North Korea. And most of these details coming from Laura Ling's sister, Lisa.
Lisa Ling telling reporters today that Laura and Euna, for the most part, were kept in isolation from one another. They really did not have the opportunity to see each other. They did see each other during the trial, which happened on June 2nd. They embraced each other then. But from then on out, they didn't have a chance to be with each other. And that must have been incredibly stressful.
SIMON: I'm sure, Larry, a lot people have questions about the food. Lisa Ling saying that the food quality was poor, that Laura really looking forward to some good food...
SIMON: ...and some fresh fruit.
The other thing I want to tell you about, Larry, is that beautiful private plane that you saw, that white unmarked 737 airplane that's owned by Stephen Bing, a Hollywood heavyweight, a big Democratic donor. We're told that he donated the plane for this humanitarian mission. And the price to North Korea and back to the United States, $200,000 -- all picked up by Stephen Bing.
Dow Chemical Company also paying for some of the transportation costs. Mr. Clinton today seen leaving Burbank on a plane -- a Gulfstream jet owned by Dow Chemical. And the company tonight releasing a statement saying that they were happy to -- to contribute to this mission -- Larry, back to you.
KING: Thanks very much, Dan Simon, as always, on the scene, this time in San Francisco.
Let's welcome a panel, all of whom were held in captivity.
In Ottawa, Ontario is Scott Taylor, a journalist. He was held in Iraq in 2004. He was tortured, readied for execution on several occasions. His story is featured on the National Geographic Channel's "Locked Up Abroad."
In El Paso, Shoshana Johnson, former prisoner of war, held captive in Iraq for F-22 days in 2003, the author of "I'm Still Standing: Memoirs of A Woman Soldier Held Captive." It comes out next February.
And in Toronto, Canada, Michael Kapoustin. Michael was imprisoned in Bulgaria for 12 years, released in July of last year, held for three years in solitary convicted -- confinement. He was convicted on embezzlement charges, but says he was not guilty.
All right, Scott, what -- what is -- what's the worst thing about being held captive?
SCOTT TAYLOR, JOURNALIST, HELD CAPTIVE IN IRAQ: Well, for us, I mean, it was the -- the constant threat of death over the five days. Myself and a Turkish colleague were being held as accused spies in the city of Talafar by the Ansar al-Islam insurgents. While we were being held by them and threatened with death, we came under attack, as a group, by the American forces who attacked to retake the city. So we were under American attack being held by Ansar al-Islam.
And on six occasions, it was for me, that I was threatened to -- to be killed, either by beheading, tortured to death or -- or shot outside. So it was quite -- that part of it was -- the roller coaster of emotions and the death and destruction around us, I think, was the toughest part.
KING: Shoshana, what can you imagine it was like for the Lings?
SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW IN IRAQ: Well, definitely the harrowing experience. You don't know what's going to happen from moment to moment. And for Euna Lee, who had a little girl at home waiting for her, not knowing if you would see your child again, get to see your child grow up, finish high school, college, get married, have children of their own is a -- it's a lot to carry.
KING: And, Michael, your son was just two when you were imprisoned.
What was it like trying to build a relationship with him so many years later?
MICHAEL KAPOUSTIN, BUSINESSMAN, HELD CAPTIVE IN BULGARIA: Well, Larry, I was blessed to have a wife and family that kept my memory alive with my son Nick. And it made the reunion that we had last year that much easier. But the idea of not having been around him during all of those years of growing up was one of the greatest and most painful torments that I experienced during the three years of isolation and solitary that I'm sure Lee and Ling have experienced and then the years in maximum security before I was finally released.
KING: Scott, what does keep you going?
TAYLOR: Certainly, the thoughts of the family. And that was the thing that would sometimes have to come forward, that I wasn't going to -- to see them again and have to close off those doors. And I think that was, at one point, at the very end, when my colleague had been released, I was left facing beheading by myself. And I've expressed it as the pilot light in my soul went out. I really felt it was over.
And then when I finally did start to realize that I was getting out and going to survive, that -- that re-ignited. And then it wasn't really brought back to a full flame until I got home and saw my family again. And -- and that was something which, again, it's a feeling of being born again. And seeing them was the -- was the icing on the cake, if you will, when you finally got back and that reality became all too real.
And that was when the fear stopped, was when I got home. Up until then, I didn't quite believe I'd been released, until I saw them and saw I was back in my own home.
KING: More with Scott Taylor, Shoshana Johnson, Michael Kapoustin.
What kind of emotions will Ling and Lee have to address in the coming weeks and months?
We'll find out next.
KING: Shoshana Johnson, do you think it's doubly harder for a woman in captivity?
JOHNSON: Yes, I do. I feel that, as a woman, you tend to let your emotions get the most of you. And also because of the situation where, as Americans, we're not used to seeing females being prisoners and things like that. So the reaction from the public is a lot to take in when you come home.
And as a mother, it's hard reconnecting with your child. The person that left is not the same person that comes back. So it's an adjustment, not just for the people around you, but for -- especially for children. They notice every little thing that's different and they're not afraid to voice it and sometimes it's hard to hear. KING: Michael, is it doubly worse when you know in your heart that you're not guilty, as you felt?
KAPOUSTIN: Yes, Larry, it is. It's one of the most difficult things in the world to carry that weight of being paraded around in public, accused after crime that you know you didn't commit. And to see the burden that it places on your family, to -- to hear the things that are being spoken ill of you and the battle to re -- reclaim your dignity and to try to maintain it, as well, throughout a whole process where you're just being defamed constantly in the mass media in a country that controls its press completely.
KING: Shoshana, how did you learn you were free?
TAYLOR: That was an amazing experience...
TAYLOR: Oh, I'm sorry. I interrupted. I apologize.
KING: Go ahead, Scott. No, go ahead.
Scott, how did you learn you were free?
TAYLOR: I had just completed a game of what they called knife or life. I was told I was about to be beheaded. And they came back in for one last round of questioning. So the game was that each time I answered a question would determine if I lived to the next question, which I believed the ultimate ending would be, no matter what, I would be beheaded.
From there, they told me, they said suddenly, OK, you're -- you're being released. I honestly thought they were taking me out to a place where they would make it cleaner to execute me. And then they simply turned me loose on the highway where they put me into a taxi in Mosul with the equivalent of about $3 and no identification in my pocket.
And I got into the taxi. And the crazy part was when I -- I smelled the beer on the driver's breath, I knew he could not be another member of Ansar al-Islam -- another insurgent.
TAYLOR: He had to be -- he couldn't have been a fundamentalist and still working for them. So, obviously, that was -- that smell of beer was the smell of freedom for me, which was the start of a road, as I said, that relit the pilot light in my soul.
KING: Shoshana, how did you know you were free?
JOHNSON: United States Marines Corps kicking down the door, you know. It's never easy to explain what it feels like when you hear clear English and you know you're going home and...
KING: Kind of like (INAUDIBLE)... JOHNSON: ...you know I'm...
KING: Like these girls seeing Bill Clinton...
JOHNSON: ...I'm eternally grateful.
KING: ...at the door.
JOHNSON: Definitely. A shock. A surprise. A welcome. And, you know, unbelievable joy.
KING: Michael, how did you learn?
KAPOUSTIN: Well, they called me up and they said I was going to court and -- to have my case reviewed. And they waltzed me in front of a judge. And the judge dropped the rest of the sentence. And then they put me into a -- after that, they re-arrested me, Larry, and put me into a refugee camp. And later, I found out -- a week later I found out from the Canadian ambassador that I would be allowed to leave the country as soon as a bribe was paid.
KING: Scott, what's going to be the toughest thing for these two young ladies?
TAYLOR: Well, I think that they've got to come to grips with the fact that they've -- they've been spared. And I think that it's actually a blessing, in some ways. I mean I've -- I've gone through this myself and realized that the whole thing about you don't know what you've got until it's gone.
I had to face that it was -- everything I knew was going to be gone very, very quickly. And now, I mean, I look at things a lot differently than I did then. I think they'll probably come out of this the same way. Getting a whole new lease on life is something people rarely get and they should take full opportunity to -- to enjoy that.
KING: Thank you all very much.
We might be calling on you again as this saga continues.
Scott Taylor, Shoshana Johnson, Michael Kapoustin.
Can Ling and Lee ever put the ordeal completely behind him -- behind them, rather?
We'll be back in 60 seconds.
KING: Jermaine Jackson is going to be here on Friday night. He's going to have a major international announcement, as well.
We've just posted a blog exclusive from him about continuing and making people aware of his brother Michael's humanitarian work. Read it only on CNN.com/larryking. Laura Ling and Euna Lee are employed by Current TV. They were on assignment when they were detained. Their boss, co-founder of current, former President Al Gore, welcomed them home this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been an ordeal for them. But I want you all to know, your families have been unbelievable. Unbelievable -- passionate, involved, committed, innovative. You'll hear a lot of stories and they're looking forward to hearing a lot of stories from you.
But Euna, Hannah has been a great girl while you were gone. And Laura, your mom has been making your special soup for two days now. And to everybody who's played a part in this -- and, again, a special thanks to -- to President Bill Clinton, my partner and friend. I'm so grateful.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I said President Al Gore. Of course, Vice President Al Gore -- although some think -- well, never mind.
Franklin Graham and Deepak Chopra are here next. One knows a lot about North Korea. The other knows the Ling family. Their insights about the political and personal costs of what's happened right after this.
KING: Two distinguished guests.
Franklin Graham is in Boone, North Carolina, president of the relief organization Samaritan's Purse. He, by the way, visited North Korea twice, in 2000 and 2008.
And our friend, Deepak Chopra, medical director, spiritual teacher, best-selling author and a friend of the Ling family.
Franklin, as someone who's been there twice, were you surprised that this happened?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, HAS VISITED NORTH KOREA, PRESIDENT, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: No, Larry, I wasn't surprised.
And, firstly, I just want to -- I hope everyone who's watching that has said a prayer for these two young ladies will just thank God for assassinating prayer. And, of course, we thank Bill Clinton, the State Department and President Obama -- everyone that had a part in getting these young ladies back home to their families.
But I'm not surprised. North Korea wants to move on, Larry. The United States, we've got to move on. We've got some very serious issues that are before us. And, of course, those nuclear weapons -- their nuclear program -- the six party talks in Beijing have fallen apart. The North Koreans have said they will not go back to the six party format. We need to be talking directly, I think, to the North Koreans. I hope that President Obama will get Ambassador Bosworth there quickly. There may need to be someone like President Bill Clinton getting involved in this kind of negotiation, because this is serious.
We are still technically at war with this nation, after almost 60 years.
KING: Yes, I know.
GRAHAM: And it's just...
KING: All right...
GRAHAM: ...this thing has to get pushed off dead center.
KING: Deepak, you gave support to the family during this whole ordeal.
What was the man -- you know them through your son, right?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, FRIEND OF LING FAMILY, AUTHOR, "PEACE IS THE WAY": Actually, I know them through my son, Gotham. He was a colleague of both Lisa Ling and Laura Ling. And my daughter has a Web site called Intent.com, where we were holding vigils and petitions and sending daily inspiration to Laura's mother. But it's mainly through my children that I know the two journalists, the two sisters.
I think what this is now is ushering in the new era of negotiation, a new era of diplomacy, where there is no belligerence, where there is no high-handedness. It's low key, it's intelligent, it's creative.
I think President Clinton ought to be congratulated. But behind the scenes, President Obama and our secretary of State, I'm sure, did the negotiations beforehand.
So it's a wonderful thing to see, Larry, that, you know, America will soon be respected and honored and loved instead of just being feared.
KING: Well, I'll ask Franklin about that.
Laura Ling's sister, Lisa, also talked today.
Let's -- let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY KTLA)
LISA LING, LAURA LING'S SISTER: The little bit that she was able to recount about her experience of the last four-and-a-half months has been challenging for us to hear. And through it all, she has really maintained a sense of strength. And the way she was able to communicate to us by the phone of what she thought they needed to have happen was so incredible. I mean my -- again, she's my little sister, but she's a very, very strong girl; a very determined person. And I'm just very, very proud to be her sister.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Franklin, do you agree with Deepak that this may be a new era?
GRAHAM: Oh, absolutely. I sure do, Larry. That's why I think the Obama administration needs to take advantage of the -- the, let's say, the goodwill that is there on the table right now with North Korea and the United States. We just need to capitalize on it.
And I would -- I would hope that this administration can do something about North Korea that hasn't been able -- we haven't been able to do anything for 60 years. This is a prime opportunity. The North Koreans do want to talk. I think they do want to negotiate. And I'm sure there's a price that's -- that they're looking for.
But whatever it is, let me tell you, it's worth it to get rid of those nuclear weapons. If those weapons ever landed in the hands of a terrorist group, Larry, and landed on one of our cities, it would be devastating. We wouldn't recover in -- for generations. So we have got to deal with this and do it quickly.
KING: Well put.
Deepak, did the family ever give up hope?
CHOPRA: No, I don't think so. I didn't have that much contact with them. My children had, as I said. But hope was never given up. And there was always hope that his would be resolved peacefully.
I think what this administration did behind the scenes is not cause too much turbulence, not give attention to too much media.
There are certain principles, Larry, in conflict resolution -- do you treat your enemy with respect, you recognize that there's a perception of injustice on both sides, you are ready to forgive and you ask for forgiveness, you refrain from belligerence, you use emotional intelligence, you recognize the other person's values, you do not bring discussions about ideology, you don't try to prove the other person wrong.
And I think every single one of those principles were followed. We are living in a new age. This is how we should deal with Iran. We are living in a new age, where Twitter and Facebook and MySpace are, in a sense, globalizing us. And citizens are having conversations with each other.
And so, you know, this is a wonderful time. And this is an opening for us to see how we can use these very intelligent, creative principles to actually disarm our enemies, not through weapons, but through friendship.
KING: President Obama was very thankful to Bill Clinton today.
Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reunion that we've all seen on television, I think, is a source of happiness not only for the families, but for the entire country. I want to thank President Bill Clinton -- I had a chance to talk to him -- for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists.
(COMMEND VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We'll ask our guests about Bill Clinton right after this.
KING: Franklin Graham, politics aside, what -- what do you make of this man, Bill Clinton?
GRAHAM: Larry, what he did was a -- was a very wonderful thing. And I -- I'm so proud of our country and thank God for this nation. But the fact that the president, the former president, would go to North Korea to help free these two young ladies, I just thank God for him.
You know, we've been praying for a long time that God would somehow maybe send an angel to these girls. I shouldn't call them girls -- these young ladies. And I'm sure when they opened up that door and they saw President Clinton -- former President Clinton -- standing there, I'm sure they -- he looked maybe like an angel to them.
I'm sure -- the president's not an angel, but he sure looked like one. And I thank God for what he did. And I hope that we can move this nation forward now in some kind of credible negotiations with -- with the North. That's so important, Larry.
This is the most dangerous area of the world. I've been there several times. We have people that are in that country every few weeks. We are doing various relief projects. It is a dangerous part of the world and we have to pay attention to this.
KING: Deepak, one can only imagine what it was like when that door opened and they see Bill Clinton.
CHOPRA: You know, Bill Clinton -- President Bill Clinton is one of the most popular people in the world. I remember when he went to India. He became such a national hero in India, that Indians forgot about their own leaders at that time.
When he went to Ireland, the same thing.
He's a very charming person. He's a very likable person. You see his body language. He disarms you. So he was just the right person for our country to use to free these young ladies.
KING: A couple of other notes.
Franklin, how's -- how's your dad?
How's -- how's Billy Graham?
GRAHAM: Well, thank -- well, thank you for asking, Larry. He's -- he's doing quite well. He's -- he'll be 91 this year, of course. But his mind is still clear, sharp. He remembers everything. He loves you and he's watching tonight.
KING: Your mother passed when?
GRAHAM: Two years ago this past June. My father misses her so very much. She was his soul mate. They were partners in life together. They really had a real love story. He was I think more in love with her the last few years of their marriage than they were when they first were married. A great love story. She was an incredible lady. A lot of fun.
KING: She was. Deepak, what part in all of this do you think faith played?
CHOPRA: I think faith always plays a great part. It sustains you. It nurtures you. It makes you feel hopeful. So faith is always a very important player in every crisis. And if you stay there, then somehow the mysterious forces of the universe, the mystery of god always shows up.
KING: You believe in answered prayers, don't you?
GRAHAM: I do, Larry. As a Christian, I know my mother and father prayed for me for many years. I was 22 years old when I gave my life to Jesus Christ. And it changed my life and I see what prayer has done for me. I'm just a sinner that's been saved by god's grace, and Jesus Christ died for my sins on a cross, and he was raised to life.
Larry, if anyone confesses their sins and asks Christ into their heart, god will forgive them. Our sins can be forgiven by almighty god. God died for me. Christ died for me. I don't serve a god where I have to die for him. He died for me, Larry.
It is so wonderful to that have kind of savior.
KING: And you, Deepak -- we only have 30 seconds -- understand that faith a great deal. You wrote a book about it.
CHOPRA: I respect those views. But I don't necessarily agree with them. I think Jesus Christ was a perfect role model for all of us and we have a lot to learn from him. But it's not necessary that we have to be Christians to believe in the mystery that we call god.
KING: I thank both of you. You're incredible citizens of the planet. Franklin, our best regards to your father. Franklin Graham is president of the relief organization Samaritans. Of course, Deepak Chopra is a medical doctor, spiritual leader and best-selling author. We thank them both on this wonderful occasion when we had actually good news.
Jermaine Jackson will be here Friday night. You can read his blog exclusive at CNN.com/LarryKing. Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos are here next talking about Oprah, Howard Stern, Regis and weddings.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE two of my favorite people, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. They are Mr. And Mrs. Consuelos. She is co-host of "Live With Regis and Kelly." She's also an actress. He's an actor, sometimes fills in for Regis. They're married of course, and co-founders of Mila Joe Productions. They're partners as well with TLC to produce a new show called "Masters of Reception," which will premier on Tuesday, August 18th.
We'll be talking a lot about it later. Basically, what is it, Kelly?
KELLY RIPA, "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": It is a great show that sort of originated when my husband stumbled into the wrong wedding while we were attending a friend's wedding.
MARK CONSUELOS, ACTOR: We were at a beautiful wedding in New Jersey. And I went to the restroom. When I came back, I sat down at the reception and I was having dinner. I noticed everybody was strangers at my table. It took me about 15 minutes --
RIPA: Larry, he had dinner at another person's wedding.
CONSUELOS: Anyway, it got us thinking, I couldn't believe that this facility had two weddings, sometimes three weddings going on at the same time. Coming from two people who actually eloped, who could never put on a wedding, we were fascinated by somebody that does this. We did a little research and we found the Frungillo Brothers. They're from New Jersey. It's a family-run business, just like our business is. And they're really fantastic.
KING: It will be on every week? Is it a weekly show?
CONSUELOS: Yes, it is. It is.
KING: We'll see wedding receptions?
RIPA: You'll see mega-wedding receptions. You'll see a variety of different -- I think the magic with these two brothers is that no request is left unanswered. If the bride and groom request it, the Frungillo Brothers find a way to provide it.
KING: We'll have them on later with you. How do you explain the success of your marriage; 13th anniversary, both in the business?
KING: Mark, how do you explain it?
CONSUELOS: I believe that my wife is extremely patient and extremely tolerant. I think that's the key to our success.
RIPA: You know, Larry, we also had really good examples. My parents have been married for almost 50 years.
CONSUELOS: And my parents just about the same time.
RIPA: Almost the same. And you know, we don't really let ego get involved in our relationship at all. We just -- and I'm deeply in love with him. I mean, he is gorgeous.
KING: You guys met in 1995. They were co-stars on "All My Children." Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPA: This is perfect. I love it. I love you.
CONSUELOS: I love you. I can't wait to tell everybody.
RIPA: Listen, can you hold off on that just a little while? I think it is a little too soon to start celebrating in light of what's happened to my Uncle Trevor and everything.
CONSUELOS: Sure. Sure. I understand. It can be our little secret.
RIPA: That is if I can just keep the smile off my face.
CONSUELOS: Maybe I can help you keep that smile off your face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was either great acting, kelly, or you were falling in love there. Were you falling in love there, Mark?
CONSUELOS: Well, back in '95, yes, I guess we were well on our way. We were just about married then.
RIPA: Larry, if you want to hear a really strange story, the day he screen tested -- I met him the day before he screen tested. He came in to pick up a script. They introduced me to him and said, this is one of the guys that will be screen testing. I went home that night and I had a bizarre dream that involved him. I didn't even know his name. But I dreamt that we were on a plane to Rome with our baby daughter.
And so the next day at the screen test I said, I had a funny dream that we were married, and we had a baby, and we were on our way to Rome. And he was terrified of it.
CONSUELOS: I went right to the authorities and got a restraining order. KING: We'll be right back with more of this delightful pair. Could you work with your spouses? That's tonight's quick vote question. Go to CNN.com/LarryKing and tell us. Back with Kelly and Mark in 60 seconds.
KING: We're back with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. They're the co-host and partner with TLC to produce "Masters of Reception." It will debut on Tuesday, August 18th. It must be great for Kelly to get a break from Regis. Who wouldn't get a break. We'll take a look at Mark sitting in for Regis. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONSUELOS: We run over to the emergency room. I'm -- literally, I'm getting sick, and I'm on the ground. You've got to be really sick to be laying on the floor of an emergency room in New York City.
RIPA: Right, that's true.
CONSUELOS: It is pretty crazy. I'm on the ground. This lady comes by like -- because we were on "All My Children" at the time. She comes up, and she goes, would this be a bad time to get an autograph?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Kelly, if Regis ever hangs it up, could you work as Mark and Kelly?
RIPA: You know, Larry, it is really funny. I always picture myself hanging it up way before Regis. Honestly, he is that show. He is the light of that show. And he carries that show. That is his baby. And I mean I never even think about that show without him, honestly.
KING: David Letterman keeps calling you Regis Lee and Kelly Lee, as a throw back to Kathie Lee. Do you know Kathie Lee Gifford?
RIPA: I do and I'm a big fan of hers. I was a watcher of "Regis and Kathy Lee Since it Began" I've always been a fan of their chemistry. I absolutely adore her.
CONSUELOS: We used to watch the show --
RIPA: We did.
CONSUELOS: -- in the hair and makeup room of "All My children."
RIPA: We'd get our makeup done and watch "Regis and Kathie Lee." It was like our morning ritual. So when she left, I said, I feel sorry for whoever gets picked to take over there, because there is just no way it would ever work. I had no idea that I would be the person that they would choose and select. I've been enormously blessed by that job. KING: They're not only married. Mark also officiates at other weddings. He officiated at Howard Stern's wedding. We'll talk about that after the break.
KING: They've got a show coming August 18th about weddings. Mark has officiated at weddings. You married Howard Stern and Beth Astrasky (ph). How did that come about?
CONSUELOS: We are very close friends. And they -- at dinner one night, they asked me to -- if I would perform the ceremony. I thought they were joking. It was about six months away from it happening. And they just kept saying, no, we're actually serious. I went online and about 14.25 later, I became a minister.
No, Larry, I could have you hooked up in about 25 seconds.
KING: Could I be a rabbi.
RIPA: You know what? Actually, that's more of a religious thing, I think.
CONSUELOS: I was very excited about it, because in the packet that they send you, you get a parking pass. It says clergy. So I can --
RIPA: For no other reason, the clergy pass is worth it.
CONSUELOS: But the ceremony was great.
KING: Was the wedding somewhat like Stern's show, a little raucous or was it dignified?
CONSUELOS: It was extremely elegant and beautiful. And my goal was to make it very short and sweet and to the point. It was just a really wonderful, beautiful party.
RIPA: You know what it is, Larry? These are two people who are deeply, deeply in love with each other. And they're just great, warm, loving, gracious people. And all of their friends are just like them. And so it was nice to be in a room filled with people who genuinely loved each other, appreciated each other. And I just --
I don't mean just the two of them. I mean all of their friends and family members. It was a lovely wedding.
CONSUELOS: It was a great night.
RIPA: Yes, a greet night.
KING: You go to Chicago every week, Mark, to work with Oprah?
CONSUELOS: I did, yes. I flew last year -- better part of the year I was flying back and forth.
KING: Was that fun?
CONSUELOS: You know what? I had a great time. I had a great time on the show. And I really love doing live TV. I think my favorite live show is probably the one at 9:00 on -- that shoots on WABC.
KING: Kelly, in addition to "Masters of Reception," are you going to do other shows together? You going go produce?
RIPA: Yes. We're working on another show for TLC, where we discover female inventors who have these great sort of ideas. Larry, I'm sure you're the same way, when you have a show like we have, people have these great ideas. They don't know what to do with them, with their products. I found that I kept getting sent thousands of products a week, like diaper warmers, and blanket holders, and all of this stuff.
CONSUELOS: We thought, wouldn't it be great if we could actually get a group of people that could go down to Topeka, Kansas and help whoever that person was and kind of tweak their product a little bit. We've teamed up with HSN. And we're going to take them to HSN and see if they can actually cut it, if they can sell their products nationally.
RIPA: Sell the products to the 90 million viewers that HSN has.
KING: That's great idea. Do you like producing as much as being on?
CONSUELOS: I think we like it because, you know, we -- we work with a lot of people that we love. And I think that, you know, you've been in this business a long time. When you get to work with people that you really love --
RIPA: It's all about working with people that you live.
CONSUELOS: Our team is a really great team. We're making shows that we're passionate about. We're creating a business that our children can all work in, because they're all going to need a job, soon.
KING: Kelly, what are you doing to raise money to fight ovarian cancer? How is that going?
RIPA: Larry, I've got to tell you that people's generosity staggers me every day. We just had our super Saturday event in Watermiller, our annual event, which raised, in one day, 3.6 million dollars, which all goes to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. And you can really -- that's Donna Karan's baby. I swoop in as the host, and I'm honored to do it. But Donna Karan works tirelessly year-round.
KING: Are we making any progress? When I hear the term, I think death.
RIPA: You know, Larry, I've got to tell you something that -- I was explaining this to Mark. The first year I hosted that event, six years ago, I didn't meet a single survivor, not one survivor. At this event now, the survivors are the volunteers. I mean, there are so many now, because obviously we are getting close. And the more research that is funded, the better educated people are.
KING: All right. Kelly, Mark, you stay with us. We're going to meet the brothers who have created this business. And when we come back, a sneak peek at maybe Mark's new baby premier in a couple of weeks, too. That's the show we're talking about. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our family is in a celebration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We grew up on weddings. It's in our blood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's awesome!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We plan, we plan. Things always happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At 11:00 at night. I can't get a crew here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want their cats to walk down the aisle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to put out fires and react all day long.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to be honest. This is ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say they don't have no limo. Yes, they're all booked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We cannot have an unhappy bride. I will make this go through and I will get her the song.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: On Tuesday, August 18th, the new show is going to premier on TLC. It's co-produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. It's called "Masters of Reception." And they're referring to our next two guests, Robert and Jerry Frungillo. They're co-owners of the Frungillo Caterers. It's a family-run business.
Robert, did you inherit this from your dad?
ROBERT FRUNGILLO, "MASTERS OF RECEPTION": Actually, Larry, we did. Mom and dad started this business 35 years ago. And started from a small store in Verona, New Jersey, 20 by 30. We kind of took it to a different level. There would be no Frungillos, Larry, without mom and dad.
KING: How did you, Jerry -- how did you and Kelly and Mark get together? How did this come about?
JERRY FRUNGILLO, "MASTERS OF RECEPTION": You know, I'm not really sure how it came about. One day I was walking through our kitchen and a few people came by. One of the people said, "hi, I'm Mark Consuelos." I said, "no, you're not. You're the Gooch," referring to hope and faith.
We just hit it off. We felt really confident in Mark and his crew. We're happy we're here. We're very fortunate.
KING: How does it work? We see a wedding that you cater?
J. FRUNGILLO: Yes, each episode will be two different weddings that we are catering. Each wedding, as in life, has its own little story, has its passion, has its setbacks. We're there all the time. We are there to make sure that we're holding hands, pushing people along. We're making them comfortable and to make their big day come true.
KING: Are you and Mark on the show?
CONSUELOS: No, we're definitely behind the camera here. We're not in front of it.
RIPA: I keep trying to talk Mark into renewing our vows, so we can have a wedding there, because everything always looks so nice.
CONSUELOS: That will be on very special episode of "Masters of Reception."
KING: Robert, the secret of a successful wedding is?
R. FRUNGILLO: I think the secret is absolutely control the pulse of the wedding from the second the bride and groom show up. I think everyone has to understand -- and Larry, you know a little bit about weddings. I think you really --
KING: Cut that out. Go ahead.
R. FRUNGILLO: I think you're a master yourself. I think the most important thing for people and brides and grooms to understand is they really need to enjoy the day. It goes fast. It goes quick. Weddings are five hours. Memories, a lifetime.
KING: Jerry, how important -- I mean, this seriously -- is the food?
J. FRUNGILLO: The food is really important. In fact, we would always talk about -- years ago, we were just off premise caters. I wouldn't say just off premise. But we would bring things to people's homes, to museums, to halls. Everything in the world you can imagine, Larry, goes wrong. We always said the food always saves us. The food is really, really important, especially with our culture, our background.
We have recipes that our grandparents were cooking that we're still serving today.
KING: With today's economy, Robert, can I make a wedding on the cheap?
R. FRUNGILLO: Yes, you can. You know, I think it's all about your expectation and your budget. And you really have to get down to where you need to be on that line. If you're flexible on the date and you're flexible with some menu ideas, absolutely, you can do that.
KING: Mark, to the viewer at home, what will be the magic of this show? What will draw them to it?
CONSUELOS: You know what it is? I think what really enchanted us with this show was that it's a family-run business. And when they talk about their business and how they treat their employees, they always refer back to their parents. And we have shots and we have home footage of the Frungillos, you know, growing up in that business.
And also we plug in two fantastic weddings that are very different, and with great brides and great grooms. And, listen, everything -- anything that can go right goes right, and some things go wrong that they have to make right at the same time.
RIPA: It's these two very different, very touching stories, these brides and grooms, but how they relate to the brothers, Jerry and Robert, really are their touchstones. They are their anchors through this whole sort of -- it can be a very daunting, very traumatic process. And these men are there for these couples every step of the way.
CONSUELOS: It truly is a love letter to their parents and to the state of New Jersey, by the way.
KING: Jerry, I think -- I really think, Mark and Kelly, you've hit on a great idea here. If it plays out the way you've described it, it should be terrific. Jerry, how do you do -- can you do ten weddings a weekend?
J. FRUNGILLO: We certainly can. I mean, goes back, we can do ten.
How? We run four different locations. We do off-premise weddings. If you think about it, Larry, you can actually, in one room, do a number of weddings in the same day, or in the same weekend. You have a Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night.
KING: Well, you get a lot of joy doing what you do because you're unhappy people.
J. FRUNGILLO: Yes, right. You know, we love what we do. It's a lot of commitment. It's a lot the family takes on with it. We're not in this alone. We have families. Our wives, our children suffer along with us, enjoy it along with us.
KING: Great idea. Kelly, Mark, thank you. Robert and Jerry, thank you. The show premiers Tuesday, August 18th, on TLC. Don't forget, Kelly, give our love to Regis. We'll be seeing him soon.
RIPA: He loves you, too, Larry. You know that.
KING: Thanks, guys. "AC 360" starts right now.