US talk show host Larry King will host a political programme on RT from next month, a year after Julian Assange, the controversial founder of Wikileaks, was given a regular slot on the Russian state-backed television channel. In a statement on the RT website today, 79-year-old King said: “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.”
RT, formerly known as Russia Today, pitches itself as an alternative to media outlets such as the BBC and CNN, and is strongly critical of western governments. Last year, it brought Assange on board to conduct a series of interviews with individuals such as Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah. The television network also makes a point of inviting marginal figures such as UKIP's Nigel Farage and George Galloway of the Respect Party to air their views.
King has worked in television for more than 50 years during which time he has interviewed more than 50,000 people, according to RT, including every US president since Richard Nixon. He made his name as a talk show host on CNN, where he worked for 25 years before leaving in 2010. On his new appointment, King said: “I appreciate the importance of providing a platform to those with real alternative visions for our country's future.”
RT America will exclusively broadcast Larry King Now, which was launched on online television networks Hulu and Ora in July 2012, and Politics with Larry King, a new show out next month. Both will continue to stream online at Hulu and Ora.