The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, May 08, 2002  

Clinton Has No Oprah-esque Ambitions

The Rittenhouse Review on May 2 published an article -- "Say It Ain't So, Bubba!" -- about media reports that former President Bill Clinton was in serious talks with NBC executives with respect to creating a new daytime television talk show. TRR cited a report in the Los Angeles Times that ascribed to President Clinton aspirations to be the next Oprah Winfrey and demands on his part for a salary of $50 million annually.

At the time, we expressed our qualms about the very notion of President Clinton hosting a talk show, our doubts about his need for such gratuitous compensation, and our doubts that he would be a resounding success in this new endeavor.

Today, however, we read on Newsweek's web site that President Clinton has discussed his talk show concept not only with executives at NBC, but at ABC and CBS as well.

But according to Newsweek, "[A]ll that stuff about a daytime talk show is nonsense. Clinton would be interested, says a close associate, only in a serious, 'Charlie Rose'-style show or a handful of prime-time specials -- and even those options seem unlikely to pan out."

"Also false: the $50 million price tag Clinton supposedly dangled for his services. Money was never discussed, says the associate....Here’s the Clinton camp’s favorite fiction: that he’ll replace Bryant Gumbel on CBS’s 'Early Show.' Clinton’s usually just getting to sleep when it comes on," the magazine's sources say.

So who to believe? Frankly, we don't really care. We just don't want to see him do the show.

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