Larry King misses being on live television. But now that CNN has dedicated its airwaves to non-stop coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 370, he’s happy hosting his online shows on Hulu and Ora.tv.
“I miss being live, which I did all my life, and I miss the big story, though I will tell you, I am glad I am not at CNN now with this missing plane,” King told Capital New York. “Because that has been turned into the most absurd news story. It was a great news story and then it went absurd.”
The “absurd” story broke on March 8 when the flight mysteriously lost contact with air traffic control en route to Beijing an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The latest CNN report says authorities “have nothing to show” for a search over 4.6 million square kilometers of ocean that has cost 26 countries millions of dollars.
“The funny thing about it is that in all this time, which I guess is approaching six weeks, the only thing we know is that it made a left turn. We don’t know anything else, so I have learned nothing, and all that coverage has led to nothing,” King said. “So while it gave them better ratings, they weren’t doing what I consider great news work, which is letting the audience determine what is news.”
Over the course of the eight weeks that CNN has been religiously covering the search for the plane carrying 239 people, King points out a number of other newsworthy disasters that broke.
“In that same period of time they had landslides in Washington, they had the ferry boat in South Korea, they had Ukraine, they had the G.M. recall with 13 people killed, and they are leading with the missing plane,” King said.
King maintains he loves the cable network, but disagreed with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker on one more point: The 9 p.m. talk show tradition the network is giving up on after Piers Morgan’s cancellation is not “no longer viable.”
“He also said that Jay Leno would work at 10 o’clock. Nothing is dead. I like Jeff a lot personally, but the biggest mistake you can make in media is to say anything is dead,” King said. “Ten years ago they said reality is dead, sit-coms are dead, murder mysteries are dead, two-hour shows are dead, you need to do half-hours, now half-hours are dead. If you have a good show, it will work. Any good products will work. Nothing is dead, everything is new.”