Larry King just got promoted to tsar.
RT, Russia’s government-owned English-language television network, announced on Wednesday that it has tapped the broadcast veteran to host a political talk show that will air on its American channel, RT America. The network, also known as Russia Today, called the new show “mold-breaking,” saying it will feature the 79-year-old King going head-to-head with leading figures and “those who are not afraid to go against the grain.”
The project is King’s highest-profile venture since his departure from CNN in 2010 after 25 years as the host of “Larry King Live.” The talk icon currently hosts “Larry King Now” on Hulu.com.
“I have always been passionate about government and issues that impact the public, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to talk politics with some of the most influential people in Washington and around the country,” King said in a statement.
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With a career spanning more than five decades and 50,000 interviews, King has had a personal audience with every U.S. president since Richard Nixon. At the same time, he has a well-established reputation for asking softball questions and prides himself on keeping his opinions out of his interviews. King’s CNN successor, the feisty and opinionated Piers Morgan, has often remarked that King’s even-keeled interview style would fail to attract audiences in the current climate of pundit-heavy cable news.
It’s unclear whether King will attempt to spice up his shtick for his new show, “Politics with Larry King,” which is slated to debut in June. The show is being produced by Ora TV, the production company King founded in 2012. The interviews will be recorded in RT America’s Washington, D.C., studios and Ora TV’s studio in Los Angeles. RT America will be the program’s exclusive U.S. broadcaster. The show will also stream online at Hulu.com and Ora.tv and will be available online on rt.com.
Broadcasting in more than 100 countries, RT was founded in 2005 as part of an effort by the Kremlin to improve Russia’s image in the rest of the world. Despite its reach, the network is often written off as state-funded propaganda.