Larry King, the 78-year-old journalism icon, is still broadening his horizons even in retirement. Two weeks before King interviews the voice of "Transformers" hero Optimus Prime at a San Diego comic-book convention, he'll appear in Azerbaijan on Friday for a panel discussion about women's rights along with the first ladies of Macedonia, Montenegro and Niger.
The Hub children's television network announced Thursday a lineup of panelists for this year's Comic-Con (July 12-15) that includes King interviewing Peter Cullen, voice of Optimus Prime on the Hub cartoon "Transformers Prime."
The New York Times' Media Decoder blog seized on the unusual pairing as evidence that kid-friendly programming is increasingly becoming a staple of Comic-Con, the annual San Diego-based event typically associated with comic books and science fiction.
"The Hub TV Network may not have huge ratings, but it certainly has a sense of humor: Larry King will be one of the children’s cable channel’s star attractions this year at the pop-culture convention known as Comic-Con," Brooks Barnes wrote for Media Decoder. "Mr. King has no overt connection to the Hub, or Comic-Con for that matter, but was both available and affordable. Children’s entertainment is a growing component of Comic-Con, which started in 1970 as a gathering of comic book nerds. So the Hub will have plenty of competition from Nickelodeon (staging four panels, among other activities), Cartoon Network (taking over a downtown children’s museum) and, of course, Disney."
Radio Free Europe recently reported that King will participate in the forum "The Role of Women in Tomorrow's World," scheduled to take place Friday in Baku, Azerbaijan, as part of "the 23rd annual meeting of the Crans Montana Forum, an international organization which works for the promotion of international cooperation and contributes to global growth while ensuring a high level of stability, equity, and security."
After a 25-year run on CNN, "Larry King Live" aired its final episode on Dec. 16, 2010.