Thursday, November 14, 2002
St. Paul, Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura, a former talk-radio host who has had his own radio program while in office, is negotiating with MSNBC for a TV show after his term ends Jan. 6.
Ventura has met with MSNBC President Erik Sorenson over the last several months to discuss a general news talk show that includes a segment on media criticism, a source close to the discussions said on condition of anonymity.
MSNBC spokeswoman Paulette Song said, "We're always looking at potential options for programming but we have nothing to announce."
Since taking office in 1999, Minnesota's flamboyant governor has been a regular on cable television news.
MSNBC, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC, is an all-news cable channel whose top-rated show is "Hardball" with Chris Matthews. Ventura has appeared often on the program, several times as Matthews' only guest.
Last year, Ventura was a football commentator for the failed XFL. He was an analyst on Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio broadcasts in 1989 and '90, and also spent a season doing Minnesota Vikings games on KFAN-AM Radio, in 1991. He was host of a talk show on KFAN from 1997 until he filed his candidacy for governor in 1998, and was host of a talk show on KSTP-AM from 1994 to 1996.
As governor, Ventura has promoted his ideas and settled scores on his "Lunch with the Governor" radio program broadcast each Friday on a statewide network. He plans to do just two more shows, ending on Nov. 22, said his spokesman, John Wodele.
Ventura would not confirm the MSNBC meetings, Wodele said.
As governor, Ventura's outspokenness has often stirred controversy. The former professional wrestler, author, movie actor and one-term suburban mayor once suggested that lives could have been saved in the Columbine school massacre if someone at the school had had a concealed weapon. He later apologized.
Later, he went on a national tour to promote his best-selling autobiography, "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: Reworking the Body Politic from the Bottom Up," in which he talked about visiting a prostitute, among other subjects. He later wrote a second book, less controversial and less popular, "Do I Stand Alone? Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals."
In a Playboy interview, he called organized religion a "sham" and joked that if reincarnated, he would want to come back as a size-38DD bra.
Ventura has said in recent months that he has a job lined up for when he leaves office, but has declined to offer details. On many occasions, he has told reporters at the state Capitol that he will be "more dangerous" to them in his new job than he is as governor.