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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Kate Gosselin; Interview with Kathie Lee Gifford

Aired August 25, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Kate Gosselin, the star of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," is on her own.


KATE GOSSELIN: Listen, quietly.


KING: Her private pain exposed in a public divorce.

What happens next to the kids, her ex, the show?


KING: Plus, Kathie Lee Gifford knows what it's like in the spotlight. Hear what she thinks Kate should do.

And then, Michael Jackson's drugs -- see the lethal cocktail that killed him next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Quite a lineup tonight.

Kate Gosselin was last on LARRY KING LIVE on May 10th. A little more than a month later, on June 22nd, Kate and her husband Jon filed for divorce, announced their split that same day in a special edition of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" -- a show that's become phenomenal worldwide.

How are you doing, Kate?

Good to have you here.

K. GOSSELIN: I'm good.

Thanks for having me.

KING: You feel good?


KING: How are the kids?

K. GOSSELIN: Wonderful, marvelous, gorgeous, lovely.

KING: All right. Now the twins are going to be nine in October. The sextuplets were five in May.

How much do they know about what's going on?

The 9-year-olds probably do, right?

K. GOSSELIN: As far as what is going on...

KING: You and Jon and...

K. GOSSELIN: our household, they understand the process. They're working through it, the same that Jon and I are. They're doing remarkably well. This has opened up a lot of discussions between them and myself. A lot of questions come my way. And we're dealing with it. They're doing very well considering.

KING: Why -- why did you agree to do this reality show in the first place?

K. GOSSELIN: In the very beginning, we started filming a one hour special. It was a way to document what was happening in our lives. At that time, there was a lot of local news stories. There were a lot of people in the country and the world, believe it or not, pulling for us. As you know, sextuplets are not born every day, so there was a lot of interest.

We did the one hour special to show everyone -- I always pictured like the little old lady that was sitting at home who was praying for us, rooting for us and needing to know what happened to those babies that were born. And so we did it for that reason, as well as to collect the memories for ourselves.

KING: And little did you think what would happen from that.

K. GOSSELIN: No way of knowing.

KING: Why did you agree to do a regular reality show?

You could have said that's the special, here's my life, good-bye.

K. GOSSELIN: I could have. At that point, the one hour special was a very good experience. The network, TLC, we were on Discovery Health at that time. Now, TLC is wonderful, supportive. And it was a great experience for us. So we, you know, really moved forward because of that reason. It was healthy and safe and fun.

KING: Do the kids talk to you about divorce?

K. GOSSELIN: They do. And as any child, you know, when their parents are divorcing, the goal is peace and we've achieved that numerous times. The Fourth of July we spent together as a family. And my goal is, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what place, you know, one of us is in, my goal is really peace and the best that it can be for the kids.

KING: Do they get counseling? K. GOSSELIN: We have not started that process, but I feel like it is a very normal thing to do. And absolutely, when the time is right.

KING: All right. Jon is quoted in the new "Us Weekly": "I wish I had a 9:00 to 5:00 job instead of the nightmare I'm living. This is 24/7. I don't even want to do taping the show anymore."

What's your reaction to that?

K. GOSSELIN: Jon's opinions and his goals are his. I know that, personally, for myself and the kids, this has been a good experience. It continues to be a good experience. And, you know, really the network has been extremely supportive, above and beyond, I feel, what they need to be. And I only experience good things.

Everyone works. Everyone has a job. Everyone has what they're dealing with. And, generally speaking, this is the most flexible, workable, wonderful job for myself. Remember, the kids are just playing in front of the cameras so.

KING: How long have you been doing it now?

K. GOSSELIN: We are in season five. We started filming in August of 2005.

KING: Why is it such a good thing to have a private life public?

K. GOSSELIN: It's -- it has been a source of huge -- for whatever reason -- inspiration for a lot of people. Many, many people -- many parents feel that their decisions are maybe not great decisions -- every parent has that, you know, parent guilt of my goal is to produce wonderful, productive individuals and put them out into society. That is the goal of a parent...

KING: Right. Of course.

K. GOSSELIN: ...for us to show the world that we are not perfect, life is unpredictable, but life always goes on and there's always, always, always something to look forward to. And for me, that is raising my children to the best of my ability.

KING: But as an intelligent person, you also know to all good things, there are down sides.

K. GOSSELIN: Absolutely. With every positive, there is a negative across the board in life. It's about choosing to see the positive and working with the negative.

KING: So what happens now?

Are you and the kids going to do the show and Jon is out?

K. GOSSELIN: I don't -- I'm not the person to make that decision. I know that myself and the kids will continue the show. KING: But if Jon says I don't want to do it anymore, I don't want to be part of it, I'm divorced, I don't need this, will the network say it's you and the kids?

I mean when...

K. GOSSELIN: That would be a question for the network.

KING: Will the name of the show change?

K. GOSSELIN: That would be a question for the network.

KING: And if they said forget it, that would be OK with you?

And if they said we'll continue, that's OK with you?

K. GOSSELIN: That will be their decision.

KING: So why are you letting the network run you?

K. GOSSELIN: I'm not letting the network run me. It's -- it's a thing where we signed up for this.

And do I have my opinions?


Do I need to discuss them?

Probably not. I know that I am going to -- I signed my name to a contract and I am going to do my best to make that work, as long as it is healthy and safe for myself and the kids.

KING: You've become famous worldwide over this.

What's the downside of that?

K. GOSSELIN: You know, I could really live without the -- the following.

KING: Attention?

K. GOSSELIN: Yes. I could live my whole life -- I would have to say that is absolutely the negative. I realize it comes with it. I know that it goes along with it. I -- I'm smart enough to figure out that, you know, there's interest. It's going to be interest across the board. It's another learning lesson.

KING: Do paparazzi follow you around?


KING: You land at an airport, they're there?


KING: You and Jon renewed your marriage vows a year ago this month in Hawaii.

What happened?

How do you go from renewing vows to filing for divorce in a year?

K. GOSSELIN: It is a question I ask myself every day. I don't have the answer.

KING: What happened?

K. GOSSELIN: I -- I don't -- I don't know. I -- I...

KING: But he did -- he made this decision?

K. GOSSELIN: You know, it's just an issue that we discussed amongst ourselves. I don't feel like that is something that we need to discuss the details of...

KING: Yes, but when you get so famous, you and him and the kids, and then you leave out those details, don't you disappoint the audience that's come to expect more?

K. GOSSELIN: My main concern is my kids. And I don't want them to see or hear anything on TV that I didn't discuss with them. And -- and we discussed what they need to know at their developmental age groups. But I don't feel like I need to go any further than that at this time.

KING: Kate -- that's fine.

Kate said she had no choice but to file for divorce.

What was Jon doing that forced her hand?

We'll ask after the break.



JON GOSSELIN: Kate and I have decided to separate.

K. GOSSELIN: Yes. We have decided that we will separate.

J. GOSSELIN: I try to contemplate and think about it and would it be better for us. It's just not good for our kids for us to be arguing in front of our kids. And it just -- we can't be cordial with one another and we decided to separate.

K. GOSSELIN: I'm not very fond of the idea, personally, but I know it's necessary.


KING: What were your feelings right then? K. GOSSELIN: That was very hard to say. It was the first time, I think, having a reality show and knowing that something so huge and life-changing had taken place. And we did need to talk about it. Choosing the correct words and hearing myself say it, it was very hard.

KING: There's been different reports about who initiated it.

Can you tell us that?

Who -- who said let's separate?

K. GOSSELIN: It's all in that vault.

KING: Mixed?

K. GOSSELIN: Yes, it's all in that thing where, you know, it just kind of shook out the way it did. And...

KING: Do you take any responsibility?

K. GOSSELIN: Everyone who is in a divorce or has been is responsible to a degree.

KING: When you filed, though, you issued a statement -- and this was public, because the public is interested in you -- saying that Jon's activities had left you no choice but to do so.

What were you talking about?

K. GOSSELIN: I am not at liberty to discuss that because, for the sake of my children, I only speak positive.

KING: But the implication is obvious, isn't it, Kate?

K. GOSSELIN: There were -- there were some details there that I'm -- I can't share, but that did lead me to do that, yes.

KING: Police came to your home?


KING: That's always sad with kids around -- called by you after an argument. He says you tried to come home when it was his time with the kids and he wouldn't let you in, accusing you of crying it up with the cops.

Can you tell us what happened, because that's what he said?

K. GOSSELIN: Well, number one, the tabloid and the whole media mess always makes it worse than it is. Remember that. It actually was not this huge fight. It was just a thing where I wanted to be there with the kids and -- as opposed to a babysitter. And he wasn't fond of that idea.

And I just had a very rough day. I have good days and bad days. This day was a rough day. I just wanted to be with the kids if he wasn't going to be with them. And I did. I did it was not a 911 call. It was the local routine police phone call.

KING: There was no violence?

K. GOSSELIN: No. No. Just to meet me there just in case things, you know, got ugly. I didn't want them to get ugly in front of the kids. And the kids were not even around. And I left peaceably, knowing that -- it's true, it was his day to be there and...

KING: How does it work now?

You and Jon switch off going to the same house?


KING: Jon doesn't take them to his, where he's living?


KING: He comes to where you're living?

How did that happen?

K. GOSSELIN: Because...

KING: I mean usually the -- the person who has visitation takes the kids.

K. GOSSELIN: Correct. First of all, we have eight kids and, realistically, to pass them off and move them back and forth is not possible. Second of all, to have two houses that could hold eight kids was financially not possible. We bought that house for the kids. It is the kids' house. And it is the most stable, normal thing for them to remain there. And I do live there with them. And he does when he has the kids.

KING: And you go where?

K. GOSSELIN: Elsewhere.

KING: I mean for days?

K. GOSSELIN: I do. I have to. That's the hardest part of all of this.

KING: To leave?


KING: And how does -- is the visitation very well handled, I mean the time allotted?

K. GOSSELIN: We did it very peaceably amongst ourselves.

KING: You made your own agreement?

It wasn't a court?

K. GOSSELIN: No. We did our own custody.

KING: A judge didn't say he will have three days...


KING: will have?


KING: Is there a parenting schedule, too?

I mean do you -- do you have all of this so worked out with eight, isn't it hard?


KING: Aren't there days when two of the six say, no, I don't want to -- I don't want to -- I want to be with you today?

K. GOSSELIN: Whenever either one of us is away, they miss the opposite parent, which is normal. And it is what it is. They are always there. It's just us that switch off. So it is a very -- of all things, it is a very peaceful thing, custody.

KING: How are you so calm and so well within yourself when so much of this is known to people?

K. GOSSELIN: It has increased over four years. It was, you know, a few people knew who we were to the progression of this. I have learned a lot. My true nature is to freak out about everything -- everything's a big drama, everything's, you know, the end of the world.

And I can honestly say that there is so much on my plate right now that I absolutely cannot react that way to every little thing that comes by -- or big thing.

KING: So you've forced yourself to hold back what is your natural instinct?


KING: That's hard, isn't it?

K. GOSSELIN: It is very hard. And I have my hard days. And I have days where, you know, I don't always say the right thing or do the right thing or phrase things the way that I should. But generally speaking, my rule of thumb is I want to be positive, I want to look forward and I want the kids to look back on all that they're going to see of me and know that I did my best.

KING: We reached out to Jon Gosselin. He declined to provide a statement at this time. He has a standing invitation to appear on this show.

And we'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back with Kate Gosselin from "Jon & Kate Plus 8".

Kate's moving on -- or trying to -- during a difficult period.

Here's a look at her new life raising all of those children alone.



J. GOSSELIN: This was my first official turn with the kids. It didn't feel very much different. It just felt more like the future.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: This is my daddy.

K. GOSSELIN: They wanted to camp. And I mean, I agreed. I'm a good sport, you know. I'm trying to be, anyway.

I am now going to set up a tent. Da-da-da!

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Daddy knows how to camp.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And daddy knows a...

K. GOSSELIN: And mommy has to learn.


K. GOSSELIN: Perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And daddy knows everything about this.

K. GOSSELIN: Wow! Well, he's not here.

At this rate, we'll have s'mores next week sometime. Please work. Please work. Please work.


KING: Who's with the kids now?


KING: Do you think he's watching?

K. GOSSELIN: I have no idea. He's probably putting the kids to bed, actually.

KING: Yes, it would be bedtime...


KING: ...for them.

Is he a good father?


KING: Why the pause?

K. GOSSELIN: His decisions right now are not ones that I would necessarily make.

But down deep in his heart, I know that he is.

KING: You share the same faith?


KING: So they will be raised in that same culture?

K. GOSSELIN: Absolutely.

KING: Do you agree on how school should be handled?


KING: Those are two key things.


KING: So that -- that's a plus.

K. GOSSELIN: There's a lot we agree on.

KING: What do you disagree on?

K. GOSSELIN: I -- I just think it's more the -- the current things.

KING: You mean day to day things?

K. GOSSELIN: Not so much the day to day. I think that I'm looking more toward the future and the decisions of today that affect tomorrow, more so than he is.

KING: Does Kate still think of herself as a married woman?

That's next.



K. GOSSELIN: The city meets the wild, wild West. UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It looks like a mountain rock. Ooh.

K. GOSSELIN: I'm the king of the world.



K. GOSSELIN: It's hot, though. Let it cool.


KING: That was a preview of the next episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." To see more, go to our blog at And, of course, you can see the entire show on TLC next week.

Do you have a say in what goes on?

K. GOSSELIN: As far as which order?

KING: You know, what -- do they decide what goes on or do you say I don't want that to run?

K. GOSSELIN: As far as editing?

KING: Yes.

K. GOSSELIN: No, they basically have the editing rights. I can, you know, submit my suggestions whenever. And they're very good about listening to that. But no, I'm not an editor.

KING: Have you ever violently -- not violently.

Have you ever really strongly disagreed with something they ran?


KING: Do you feel married?

K. GOSSELIN: I am not yet divorced officially.

KING: How do you feel, though?

K. GOSSELIN: I don't know. I'm kind of...

KING: Would you date?

K. GOSSELIN: No. Too busy. Sorry.

KING: Do you think -- all right, let's go on.

Do you think -- you're very attractive, young, do you think you'll have a problem having eight kids to the prospective suitor?

K. GOSSELIN: I'm not worried about it.

KING: Don't think about it?


KING: Don't you want companionship?

K. GOSSELIN: I'm lonely, but I'm -- I'm very busy and, actually, I'm all right.

KING: On the show back in June, Jon talked about why he thought the marriage broke down.

Take a look.


J. GOSSELIN: I was too passive. And I just let her rule the roost and do whatever she wanted to do and went along with everything. And now I finally stood up on my own two feet and I'm proud of myself.


KING: Want to comment on that?

K. GOSSELIN: I don't typically comment on our show. You know, that's his opinion. Everybody has one and...

KING: Do you understand it?

K. GOSSELIN: I do. I do, to a degree that, you know, everybody has a part in a marriage breaking down.

KING: Do you want this show to go on and on and on?

K. GOSSELIN: Currently, I am happy doing the show, as are the kids. And as long as it goes on, it does.

KING: How long is it contracted for?

K. GOSSELIN: We do -- we're doing season five right now.

KING: Is there a season six contracted for?

K. GOSSELIN: Possibly.

KING: You mean you don't know if there's a season six?

K. GOSSELIN: There could be or there could not be. I -- I hesitate to say that there will be anything because we take each season as we go and reevaluate -- is it fine, healthy, acceptable and wonderful.

KING: Nothing's in stone then?

K. GOSSELIN: Correct.

KING: So are you saying if it went on that would be fine, if it didn't, life goes on?

K. GOSSELIN: Correct.


When it ends, as all things do, what do you want to do?

K. GOSSELIN: I can't say. I've got big dreams.

KING: What -- what would be -- would have been your profession had this show not occurred, other than being mother?

K. GOSSELIN: I would currently still be a nurse -- a working nurse.

KING: You miss that?

K. GOSSELIN: The aspect that I miss of nursing is the interaction with my patients. That part, yes, I do miss.

KING: So would you go back to it?

K. GOSSELIN: If I had to, absolutely. I would go back to anything I needed to provide for my children.

KING: Does it hold you in good stead as a parent, your nursing background?

K. GOSSELIN: Absolutely. That's probably the best benefit of it all. Yes.

KING: Especially if medical problems develop, right?

K. GOSSELIN: Yes. Absolutely.

KING: Are you concerned about Jon?

Would it bug you if he dated?

Suppose he brought a -- a date over to the house when he has the children.

K. GOSSELIN: These are all things that everybody who has been or will be or is in the middle of a divorce...

KING: Thinks about.

K. GOSSELIN: ...goes through. And it's just -- it's that, you know me, I have to have control. It's just a control issue.

KING: You are a control freak?

K. GOSSELIN: I've been known to be one, yes.

KING: All right. Control -- people who are control freaks put pressure on themselves, don't they? I mean they worry about things that don't even involve them, right -- why is he doing that over there?

Why can't I stop him from going there, right?


KING: Doesn't it drive you a little nuts to be a -- wouldn't you rather not be a control freak?

K. GOSSELIN: There are very good aspects of being a control freak. I'm very driven. I don't -- I don't stop. Nothing less than the best. Keep moving. Keep moving. And I think that's a great aspect. I enjoy that part of my personality. I persevere. I will not lay down and die.

However, those issues you just mentioned, yes, I've had to relax about. And, actually, over this last year or -- or, actually, truly, since my six were born, life has been pretty out of control.

KING: Do you think having this show affected the marriage?


KING: Nothing would -- it would have been the same...


KING: ...had they never been on television?

K. GOSSELIN: Correct.

KING: Had we never known you?

K. GOSSELIN: Correct. Firmly.

KING: How do the older children deal with it?

K. GOSSELIN: The process?

KING: Yes.

K. GOSSELIN: They're doing very well. It's -- it's a lot of...

KING: They're how old?

K. GOSSELIN: Eight, almost nine. Obviously, again, this is not an ideal situation. Nobody goes into a marriage or has kids, you know, planning a divorce. It's not what I consider success, really. I'm not a quitter, so this is difficult to me, because this feels like something that, you know, possibly was not in my plans.

But they're doing very well considering. They're great kids.

KING: Do you have help?

K. GOSSELIN: We do. We do.

KING: You need that?


KING: No one could -- this would be inhuman to do eight kids, right?

K. GOSSELIN: I -- I did it for a long time. For the last year, we've had very steady help. And it's necessary -- whatever the kids need. And that is necessary to have -- I mean my goodness, six 5- year-olds could dismantle your house in an hour if you didn't know where they all were.


KING: I would say.

Thanks, Kate.

K. GOSSELIN: Thank you very much, Larry.

KING: Good luck.

You're back next week, right?

K. GOSSELIN: Oh, I am?

KING: Well, no. Not you're back here. You're on the air next -- if you want to come back, come back. You want to host this show, take over. But I mean...

K. GOSSELIN: I'll do it.

KING: I mean the show is on, actually.

K. GOSSELIN: Yes. We are.

KING: Thanks, dear.

K. GOSSELIN: Thank you.

KING: Still ahead, Kathie Lee Gifford, one of my favorite people.

Stick around.


KING: She's a best-selling author, a terrific writer. She's the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC's "Today Show." And her latest book is "Just When I Thought I Dropped My Last Egg." A great title.

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, "THE TODAY SHOW": You would think that would be the case.

KING: "Life and Other Calamities." What's your reaction to Kate?

GIFFORD: You know, she was just on "The Today Show" a couple of weeks ago. And I was watching from the make-up room, like most people are watching from home, or something. And I didn't get a chance to meet her. It's another thing when you meet people in the flesh. They take on a whole different dimension.

KING: How do you think she's handling all of this?

GIFFORD: I think she's probably handling it as best as you can. I think it would be a lot easier for her to handle it if she had the luxury of being away from the cameras for a while.

KING: She seems to sort of like it.

GIFFORD: You know, everybody's different. I know for me, after the 15 years with Regis, when our family life was getting a little unwieldy and a little precarious, for our kids' sake, I left the show with Regis, and sort of just started a whole different life. That was important.

The spotlight is something that you can walk in and out of with particular ease if you're in this business. You know. But the microscope is a completely different thing. And the microscope burns everything in its way.

KING: How did you deal with public adversity? Or having -- you had some bad things.

GIFFORD: We had some tough stuff. Ever time I was on this show talking. You were my therapist. I'd come on here. You know what? They didn't know anywhere near as much as what people know about the Gosselin family, because we never had cameras in our homes. We never did. One Christmas, my first Christmas special. And that was for, you know, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and then they left.

KING: But the public knew about bad things that happened to you.

GIFFORD: They knew about bad things, sure, but they also saw us survive. I remember people were always saying, do you have a statement? And I would go, you know, we're really busy trying to be a statement. I think sometimes we talk too much about everything. And we assume that everybody's fascinated about it. When in reality we should only really talk to the people that truly care, whose opinions really matter to us.

KING: How did you deal with the criticism that you exploited the kids?

GIFFORD: I think that's funny now, when you think about what's going on in the world today. Regis and I were the first people that made our living talking about our lives.

KING: Last night, we --

GIFFORD: Last night, we did this. Regis was at a point where his kids had muzzled him when I came on the scene. They were teenagers and they didn't want to be discussed on TV. I was single when I sat down with Regis at first. I knew Frank, but we weren't dating or anything. So I got married and then we had children. And if you're going to talk about your life -- I'm not going to make up stuff, say I saw a movie last night I didn't see. I'd say, last night we did this or whatever.

But it was never -- the world was different then. Larry, it was very different. It was not the kind of frenzy, the paparazzi frenzy there is today.

KING: No kidding. What's "Life and Other Calamities" about?

GIFFORD: Well, it's a book about faith, basically. The title comes from the idea that our culture is particularly cruel to women of a certain, shall we say, maturity. And just when nature is saying we're done with you, you who are ovulating, please come forward -- that's what we're interested in now. We're interested in the young and the beautiful.

I think god's got a whole different plan for us. I can't give birth anymore to babies, but I can write five songs in a day. I can put on Broadway musicals. I can write a screen play. I can put my gifts into action to help abused children.

KING: Life ain't over.

GIFFORD: And without the burden of so much of what happens in your physical body when you're younger. I mean, it's all about laughing at your situation.

KING: Are there a lot of laughs in the book?

GIFFORD: The best -- the best things that people have said to me is that they have -- I hope this is not rude, but one lady told me she literally fell off the John laughing her sides off. That's a huge compliment.

KING: You're a terrific talent. I'm very interested to read this, because you are very funny.

GIFFORD: Thank you. Well, I write it the way I talk. So that it's very much my voice as you're reading it. And I did the audio version of the book, just as you did your audio version.

KING: Did you know -- did you know you could write all those years when you were singing?

GIFFORD: I write about that in the book. I think the things that we loved doing when we were a little kid is really basically what we're -- our path is supposed to be. We just get all screwed up in life and we end up taking side roads and different things. I was an actress and a singer and a writer when I was a little kid, and just got off track. And I wrote my first book when I was 21. I'd forgotten that, that I'd written a book. KING: Kathie Lee Gifford, the book is "Just When I Thought I Dropped My Last Egg." By the way, Lisa Gibbons has written an incredible piece on a subject she knows all about firsthand, care giving to ill or elderly family members. If you're in that situation, feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated, check it out at It is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Good girl, Lisa.

GIFFORD: She's a fantastic girl.

KING: Kathy Lee's coming back after the break.



GIFFORD: It's never too early for a cocktail. My favorite part is sitting there, though, with Hoda, having alcohol.

That's not olive oil, honey, that's Quervo.

Just kidding.

Cheers. Bloody Mary.


KING: She's perfect in that fourth hour.

GIFFORD: That's why we call it the happy hour.

KING: Your successor on "Live," Kelly Ripa was on this show recently, along with her husband. They talked about you. Watch.


KELLY RIPA, "THE TODAY SHOW": 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.

MARK CONSUELOS, ACTOR: We used to watch the show in the hair and make-up room of "All My Children."

RIPA: It was like our morning ritual. So when she left, I said I feel sorry for whoever gets -- you know, has to take over there, because there's no way it'll ever work.


KING: How do you think she's doing?

GIFFORD: Kelly's adorable. I was doing a film after I left the show, up in Toronto. And it was my day off, and I was on the treadmill. And I turned on the TV and there was Regis, and she was co-hosting for the very first time. I was blown away by how natural and terrific she was. And she came to play. That's what you have to do.

And I got off the treadmill, went up to my room, and called her, left her a message on her machine, saying, watch out what you wish for, because you're probably going to get it. You were terrific.

KING: Do you miss Reg?

GIFFORD: You know what? I don't miss Regis, because I still see him so much. I talked to him this morning. Today is his birthday. He was at our house for dinner a couple of weeks ago with Joy. We still see each other socially about the same amount that we used to.

KING: All of those stories about rifts were baloney.

GIFFORD: They were baloney. They were complete baloney. Yes, we've always been -- we've never had a cross word between us in all those years. Fifteen years together on the air -- it's been nine years since I left the show.

KING: When you left, you told me you would not miss getting up in the morning.

GIFFORD: And here I am getting up in the morning.

KING: What time to do you get up?

GIFFORD: Same time. Even though I'm on an hour later. They like to have meetings at NBC, something we never had in our show.

KING: How does the fourth hour work?

GIFFORD: Apparently very well. It's doing --

KING: What is its concept?

GIFFORD: It's concept? When NBC asked me to come back to work, I said, you know what, I've done. I think I've done the best 15 years of television I can do. They said what's it going to take? I said, you know what, it's got to be fun. I've got to -- you've got to let me bring my strength to the show.

And they said, what do you mean? I said my interests. My passion is theater. I want to do something called "Everyone Has a Story." I've written a song for a beautiful movie called "Bella." And it's called Everyone has a Story because everyone does. I said I want America to write in their stories and -- excuse me -- I want to write a song for them. Custom made for them. And then I want them to come to New York, sit on "The Today Show" sofa and let the greatest singers in the world, the Broadway singers, sing them their song and change their lives. So now we do that every month.

KING: Great idea.

GIFFORD: It's such a fun thing and it's changing people's lives literally. And that's what it's all about. We have a pulpit for a purpose. You know. Paul Newman taught me that. You wake up every morning. You have a pulse, you have a purpose.

KING: And the day was a gift.

GIFFORD: That's why it's called the present.

KING: Kathie Lee's alter ego is very funny. She makes an appearance in 60 seconds.


KING: Stick around.


KING: I don't see it. We're back on LARRY KING LIVE, with Kathie Lee Gifford. Her book is "Just When I Thought I Dropped My Last Egg, Life and Other Calamities." It's published by Balletine.

Kathie Lee has taken some heat and managed to joke about herself over the years, as she said a few minutes ago. Here's a look at "Saturday Night Live's" version of Kathie Lee. Let's see if she laughs after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I sleepwalk every day, except I don't call it sleep walking. I call it white wine walking. Mamma wants the grape.

OK, let's get to the Hollywood -- to the scoop. Let's go to the scoop, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aye aye, matey. Yo ho, Hoda, and a bottle of rum.


GIFFORD: She's very funny. Yes, Hoda's having a ball because this is the first time around for her. Jan Hooks (ph) did me years ago on Regis. We've been around the block.

KING: It's a compliment.

GIFFORD: It is a tremendous compliment. It really is. If you give them something that's memorable, they will go with it.

KING: You going to write another book?

GIFFORD: I turned down a commercial recently. A lot of money, a lot of money. But I said, wait until "Saturday Night Live" gets ahold of that.

KING: Are you going to write another book?

GIFFORD: I hope so. I love writing. I absolutely love writing. I've got a novel on the spins. KING: You're the best, Kathie.

GIFFORD: You're always such a good pal.

KING: Kathie Lee Gifford, very funny, "Just When I Thought I Dropped My Last Egg, Life and Other Calamities."

Michael Jackson's drugs, we're going to take a look at them with the doctors who administer them, in hospitals, not at homes. That's next.


KING: We welcome Dr. Vimal Lala. He's an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, medical director of the Advanced Pain Medical Group in West Hills. And Dr. Jason Hymes, anesthesiologist, pain management specialist, medical director, Conservative Care Specialist Medical Group.

We're going to talk about the medicine that Dr. Murray reportedly gave Michael Jackson in the last hours of his life. He injected him with 10 milligrams of Valium, two milligrams of Ativan, two milligrams of Versed, two milligrams of Ativan, yet another two milligrams of versed, and then 25 milligrams of Propofol.

We have this with us, right? Will you tell us what we have here, Dr. Lala?

DR. VIMAL LALA, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: What we have here is Disapam (ph), or Valium, injectable form.

KING: This is Valium. This would be injected, right?

LALA: That form is injected.

KING: Given before a surgery?

LALA: Normally, we do not give that medication before surgery, because it lasts for a long period of time. It's got a long half life.

KING: This is to settle someone who might be nervous, Dr. Hymes?


KING: Next.

HYMES: Versed. Commonly used --

KING: What a small little bottle.

HYMES: It's very potent.

KING: Potent how? What would it do?

HYMES: It's a very short-acting, potent version of the Valium that you saw. They're all relatives of one another.

KING: Very small. All right. What's the pill?

HYMES: This is Ativan.

KING: He took this as an injectable, right?

HYMES: That's what was reported.

KING: We have it as a pill. What does it do?

HYMES: It too is a relative of the other two. It actually is a substance that is converted in the body from Valium. So the Valium is converted in the body to Ativan. They're relatives.

KING: Valium would be given in the home, wouldn't it?

HYMES: Valium and Ativan are both tranquilizers.

KING: But not the other?

HYMES: The Midazolam, the Versed, is really for in-hospital or surgery center use.

KING: Now the world famous Propofol. All right. Tell us about this.

LALA: Propofol is a medication only used for anesthesia, to actually induce anesthesia for a patient undergoing a surgical procedure. It is only indicated for hospital OR usage, ICU usage, or ambulatory surgery centers.

KING: Put you to sleep while they do the surgery?

LALA: Absolutely.

KING: It's very quick acting in that when you wake up, you're up?

LALA: You're up.

HYMES: You know, you -- what's interesting, you said, it puts you to sleep. That's really a misnomer. It doesn't put you to sleep. What it actually does is anesthetizes you. When someone says that I went to sleep for surgery, they didn't go to sleep. There's a real big difference between sleeping, a natural process, and being under anesthesia, a very unnatural process.

KING: You have to be monitored, right?

LALA: You have to be monitored.

KING: Blood pressure taken?

LALA: Blood pressure, oxygen, carbon dioxide levels, EKG monitors. KING: When you heard it was given in the home, what did you first think?

HYMES: Amazing. It is the sort of situation where you would think that the people administering it, who -- I presumed at the time would know how these things work and been trained to use them, would steer clear of that kind of situation. But what you have is someone who apparently wasn't necessarily trained or familiar with the uses. And so therefore stepped into a very bad situation.

KING: How would it get into the house, Dr. Lala? The doctor would have to bring it there? You don't go to a drug store and get this.

LALA: No, absolutely not. Not even a general doctor can prescribe that. This is a medication that only surgery centers or hospitals can get. So the physician had to have some connection to either a surgery center or hospital in order to get the medication.

KING: Improperly handled, it could kill you?

LALA: Absolutely.

KING: Back with more right after this.


KING: All right, Dr. Lala, tell me about this needle.

LALA: This needle is an intravenous line. It's what's we actually place inside a vein in a patient who is about to undergo any type of surgical procedure. It's how we administer fluids and medication.

KING: This doesn't go right into the skin, doesn't it? Isn't there another thing that they put in first and then this goes in.

LALA: Oh, no, that is actually the needle. The catheter is over the needle. The needle goes into the skin and the catheter is threaded into the vein.

KING: We don't show this to patients, do we?

HYMES: We do actually.

KING: You do? Not me you wouldn't. Now, you're an addictionist as well, Dr. Hymes. Which means?

HYMES: I'm boarded in anesthesia, pain medicine and addiction medicine.

KING: Can you explain why someone would be using all this?

HYMES: There are a lot of answers to that and a lot of reasons. Probably the basic problem is celebrity medicine, taking care of people that you are afraid to say no to. KING: What does it do for them? If it puts them to sleep, that's it?

HYMES: Well, it doesn't put them to sleep. What you have -- if you read the sequence of events, everything was done by the textbook. Unfortunately, it's a textbook for something else. This is a textbook for putting someone under anesthesia to have a surgical procedure done on them. Not for --

KING: So why would someone have it done not for a surgical procedure?

HYMES: Well, that would be hard to figure. Clearly people -- notable people can drive their own medical care. Physicians, other people, caring for them --

KING: Cow tow to them?

HYMES: Absolutely. Physicians that take care of celebrities, those who have had to deal with those situations, are faced with ethical questions that the average physician may not come up against.

KING: Do pharmacies face it, too, Dr. Lala?

LALA: They may. But I'm sure that a pharmacist cannot give a medication unless it was prescribed by a physician. So I think it's the physicians who sort of put themselves in a vulnerable position and befriend celebrity patients and become their friends, and start doing things they normally wouldn't do.

KING: So a physician would have to bring that from the hospital to the house, wouldn't he? He wouldn't get it at Wal-Greens?

HYMES: Ordinarily not. No, Wal-Greens wouldn't stock it. But that doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't be ordered from some supplier or something like that.

KING: When you first heard of this, Dr. Lala, did it boggle your mind?

LALA: Absolutely. I was shocked.

KING: All of what he got that night was pre-surgical?

LALA: Pre-surgical medication. The major surgical medication he was given was Propofol. But it has to be noted, in a lot of the reports it was stated he was given 25 milligrams of Propofol. And toxicology results are showing that this is a lethal dose. I can tell you, 25 milligrams is a very small dose of Propofol. Of course, when it is given combined with all the other benzodiozopine medications, there's a synergistic affect. But it was a very small dose.

KING: Dr. Hymes, wouldn't any doctor know this was dangerous? Not an anesthesiologist, any doctor?

HYMES: You know what you're seeing is really the tip of an iceberg. What's interesting is in talking to some of my general anesthesia colleague, they're upset over the concept that there was a Propofol overdose here, and blaming it on that. That's really not true. The amount of Propofol given was relatively small.

What you see is the tip of an iceberg. It's the fact that drugs were given that will hang around in the body for hours or even days. The half-life -- that means how long half of the drug will be in the body -- for Valium here is three days. And so what happened is the musical chairs of the drugs that were being given -- the last drug given before everybody sat down, or in this case died, was Propofol. But it was a whole sequence of events. Unfortunate --

KING: We're almost out of time. If you gave all of this to me now in two-hour space, would I probably die?

LALA: If myself and Dr. Hymes weren't here to resuscitate you, yes.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again. See you tomorrow night. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?