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Larry King Signs Pact With CNN for a Reported $8 Million

TIMES TELEVISION WRITER

Talk show host Larry King has signed a new five-year contract to remain with CNN for what may be a record-breaking agreement for cable, reportedly about $8 million, sources reported Monday.

The multi-year contract was confirmed by CNN and King’s Boston-based attorney, Bob Woolf.

In a phone interview from Washington, where his show originates, King said that there had been approaches from CBS, Lorimar Productions, Warner Bros., Disney, Columbia Pictures and producer Peter Guber to present him in TV projects especially tailored to him.

“They all made very attractive offers,” King said. “But I’m 56 years old. I have a special place at CNN. In an insecure business, I have a secure job. A five-year contract is very unusual. If you know where you’re at, why move? And I can certainly live on what they pay me. It’s in the high seven figures.”

According to King, CBS proposed putting him in the late-night slot recently occupied by “The Pat Sajak Show,” which was canceled.

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“Except that it would have been 1 1/2 hours with phone calls,” he said.

King’s nightly, one-hour CNN show, “Larry King Live,” which is seen here at 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., consists of interviews and phone calls from viewers.

CNN, the cable network owned by Ted Turner, celebrated its 10th year last Friday.

Of his new contract, King remarked, “I don’t think Ted Turner ever expected to pay that kind of money. But he’s been very successful.”

The new deal calls for King to also do occasional specials for other Turner cable channels, including TNT and superstation TBS, said a CNN spokeswoman. Woolf said that Turner also has given King permission to host occasional, worldwide, Ed Sullivan-type variety shows for NBC if a deal is worked out.

Several years ago, King turned down an ABC offer to host a talk show following Ted Koppel’s “Nightline,” opting to remain with CNN.


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