Michael King

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Michael King (1948-2015) talks about his adolescent years and early interests and describes his first work in broadcasting, selling time in radio. He chronicles the history of King World, founded by his father Charles King, and describes how his father came to distribute the "Our Gang" filmed shorts (syndicated as The Little Rascals on television). He talks about how he came into the fold at the company, taking over when his father passed away in 1972, with the title Executive Vice President (not wishing to take the title of "President" in honor of his father). He speaks about his partnership with his brother, Roger King, and their deals over the ensuing years. He describes their creation of short news inserts and a five-minute daily soap opera starring John Gabriel, which led to their first thirty-minute property, Soap World, starring Michael Young. He talks about working with game show producers Jack Barry and Dan Enright syndicating Tic Tac Dough, in an arrangement with distributor Dick Culbert. He chronicles how King World came to syndicate Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, two of their biggest deals and gives his impressions of show creator Merv Griffin. He mentions various ways in which the shows were promoted through the years. He describes his first impressions of Oprah Winfrey, with whom King World would have a long association as national syndicator of her talk show. Additionally, he talks about the merger between King World and CBS and his brother, Roger's continuation as CEO of the new entity. Karen Herman conducted the interview on May 7, 2008 in Pacific Palisades, CA.

"I remember saying to my brother, Roger, 'We were never going to be professional lawyers or doctors or a financial guy. We're in a profession that's actually better than theirs. We're broadcasters.' It was an exciting run to climb to that high of a level in a profession that we just revered, and it was a great honor."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Michael King on hiring Alex Trebek to host Jeopardy! and working with Merv Griffin
Michael King on King World acquiring The Oprah Winfrey Show
Michael King on taking over King World after the death of his father
Michael King on distributing Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough for King World
Michael King on distributing Tales of the Haunted for King World
Michael King on how he would like to be remembered 
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in radio and television as it related to his father's business; on television he watched growing up
On selling ad time for radio stations and hiring Jay Leno in 1973; on his father's ownership of the "Our Gang" featurettes, retitled The Little Rascals for television, and his refusal to edit them for racial sensitivity; on taking over King World after the death of his father
On selling The Little Rascals and various shows and products related to it and editing the show for racial sensitivity; on building King World with the revenue from The Little Rascals; on attempting to do a The Little Rascals revival with Norman Lear
On distributing Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough for King World; on moving to Florida with his brother, Roger King

Chapter 2

On various early King World productions; on King World producing the show Soap World; on how King World came to distribute Wheel of Fortune
On what attracted him to Wheel of Fortune and pairing it with Jeopardy!; on hiring Alex Trebek to host Jeopardy! and working with Merv Griffin; on the success of Wheel of Fortune and the business of selling the show
On maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows
On expanding King World after the success of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Chapter 3

On the very early beginnings of King World with his father Charles King; on the financial expansion of King World
On King World acquiring The Oprah Winfrey Show; on selling The Oprah Winfrey Show
On King World's merger with CBS/Viacom; on his role at King World after the CBS/Viacom merger
On his favorite part of running King World; on the then-future of broadcasting
On advice to someone entering the television business; on how he would like to be remembered 
Shows

Jeopardy!

View Show Page
Michael King on hiring Alex Trebek to host Jeopardy! and working with Merv Griffin
Michael King on maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows

Joker's Wild, The

View Show Page
Michael King on distributing Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough for King World

Little Rascals, The

View Show Page
Michael King on his father's ownership of the "Our Gang" featurettes, retitled The Little Rascals for television, and his refusal to edit them for racial sensitivity 
Michael King on selling The Little Rascals and various shows and products related to it and editing the show for racial sensitivity 
Michael King on building King World with the revenue from The Little Rascals
Michael King on attempting to do a The Little Rascals revival with Norman Lear

Oprah Winfrey Show, The

View Show Page
Michael King on King World acquiring The Oprah Winfrey Show
Michael King on selling The Oprah Winfrey Show

Tales of the Haunted

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Michael King on distributing Tales of the Haunted for King World

Tic Tac Dough

View Show Page
Michael King on distributing Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough for King World

Wheel of Fortune

View Show Page
Michael King on how King World came to distribute Wheel of Fortune
Michael King on what attracted him to Wheel of Fortune and pairing it with Jeopardy!
Michael King on the success of Wheel of Fortune and the business of selling the show
Michael King on maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows
Michael King on expanding King World after the success of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
Topics

Advice

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Michael King on advice to someone entering the television business

Media Consolidation

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Michael King on King World's merger with CBS/Viacom
Michael King on his role at King World after the CBS/Viacom merger

Television Industry

View Topic
Michael King on the success of Wheel of Fortune and the business of selling the show
Michael King on maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows
Michael King on the financial expansion of King World
Michael King on King World's merger with CBS/Viacom
Michael King on his role at King World after the CBS/Viacom merger
Michael King on the then-future of broadcasting
Michael King on advice to someone entering the television business
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Michael King on the success of Wheel of Fortune and the business of selling the show
Michael King on maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows
Michael King on advice to someone entering the television business

Television Executive

View Profession
Michael King on the success of Wheel of Fortune and the business of selling the show
Michael King on maintaining the ratings for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and the various promotions for the shows
Michael King on advice to someone entering the television business
Genres

Comedy Series

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Michael King on distributing The Little Rascals

Game Shows

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Michael King on distributing Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough for King World
Michael King on King World distributing Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Michael King on distributing Tales of the Haunted for King World

Talk Shows

View Genre
Michael King on King World producing the show Soap World
Michael King on King World acquiring The Oprah Winfrey Show
People

Merv Griffin

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Michael King on hiring Alex Trebek to host Jeopardy! and working with Merv Griffin

Charles King

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Michael King on his early interest in radio and television as it related to his father, Charles King's business 
Michael King on his father, Charles King's ownership of the "Our Gang" featurettes, retitled The Little Rascals for television, and his refusal to edit them for racial sensitivity 
On the very early beginnings of King World with his father Charles King

Roger King

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Michael King on moving to Florida with his brother, Roger King
Michael King on splitting King World duties with Roger King

Norman Lear

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Michael King on attempting to do a The Little Rascals revival with Norman Lear

Jay Leno

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Michael King on selling ad time for radio stations and hiring Jay Leno in 1973

Alex Trebek

View Interview Page
Michael King on hiring Alex Trebek to host Jeopardy! and working with Merv Griffin

Oprah Winfrey

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Michael King on King World acquiring The Oprah Winfrey Show
Michael King on selling The Oprah Winfrey Show

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