Hope we didn't go too hard on Larry King. A Delray Beach-based bagel chain managed to snag someone of his stature to help move product -- not exactly everyday stuff -- and that seemed worth reporting.
Larry's the kind of dude who's always crisper-drawer cool when others would duck for cover. The way he held up after rumors of infidelity (his and his wife's) permeated the media a few months ago was mightily impressive. We didn't mean to gang up on the guy.
Steve Fassberg, CEO of the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., sounded more than protective of his new pitchman when we spoke to him today.
"He's been totally victimized by the press over his personal life," Fassberg explained. "Poor guy. They haven't even covered the franchise thing."
That, of course, is Larry's new role with the firm. "Basically, he'll be the face of the company," says Fassberg. "He'll be the internet, print, radio presence. And you know, he hasn't gotten behind a whole lot of products."
Turns out Brooklyn-born King, who has a financial stake in the chain's Southern California footprint, heard from mutual friends about the Water Bagel enterprise and wanted to make sure it was being done right, according to Fassberg.
"We weren't really looking for a national spokesman," says Fassberg, "but Larry tasted the product, and he made a decision."
Was it really that easy? A bagel epiphany?
"No," Fassberg admits. "We were working on this a very long time, and it got quite contentious. Larry's voice or likeness couldn't appear anywhere while he was still on CNN. We had to get Time-Warner's approval, Ted Turner's approval. But it was all worth it."
No doubt. "Larry emanates credibility and integrity," says Fassberg. "He's the face of Brooklyn, and he believes in the product."