CNN veteran Larry King to host Kremlin-funded TV show

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CNN veteran Larry King will host a new show on Kremlin-funded TV station Russia Today (RT) next month, RT said on Wednesday.

The English-language station, beamed to 630 million viewers worldwide, said it would launch “Politics with Larry King” in June.

The show will be produced by Ora TV, an online broadcaster founded by King and Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim last year, and recorded in RT America’s Washington, DC, studio and Ora TV’s Los Angeles studio.

RT said it also signed a deal to air the online talk show “Larry King Now”, which has been hosted by web broadcasters Hulu.com and Ora.tv since last July. The U.S. branch will be the exclusive broadcaster for both programs, it said.

“Whether a president or an activist or a rock star was sitting across from him, Larry King never shied away from asking the tough questions, which makes him a terrific fit for our network,” said RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

RT and Ora TV declined to comment on King’s salary in the deal.

Russia Today - considered a Kremlin exercise in image enhancement by critics - received 11bn roubles ($349 million) from the state this year. It signed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange last year to host his own talk show.

King, 79, ended a 25-year run as the host of “Larry King Live” on CNN in 2010. He had interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin several times over his 13-year rule.

RT also made headlines in 2011 when U.S. airports refused to put up one of its controversial advertisements.

The billboards comparing U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a tagline asking, “Who poses the greater nuclear threat?” did appear at airports across Europe.