Blagojevich can't leave Chicago for 'Out of Here'
Judge shoots down reality-show appearanceA federal judge has shot down former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plans for reality-show stardom.
Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich cannot go to Costa Rica to shoot NBC's summer series "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here." The former governor had requested the judge loosen his travel restrictions to appear on the show.
"I do not have confidence that things will not go astray if I modify bond conditions," Zagel told a Chicago courtoom, according to UPI.
Blagojevich has said he's turned to the show to help raise money for his legal defense, with estimates putting the potential paycheck at about $100,000.
NBC reacted to the judge's decision with this statement: "NBC is disappointed in the court's decision today regarding Rod Blagojevich's participation on 'I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!' but excited about the casting announcement for the show this Friday. There are no plans to move the show to a location in the United States."
The Democrat has pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal counts as part of an alleged effort to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
In a Q&A with NBC's new reality head Paul Telegdy, set to publish in The Hollywood Reporter later this week, the executive gave some bemused answers when asked to gauge Blagojevich's chances of appearing on the show.
"I'm simply not an expert in U.S. extradition. I'll leave it to gangs of lawyers," he said when asked if he thought the judge would grant Blagojevich's request to leave the country.
With regard to the odds of the former governor making a run for it in the jungle, Telegdy said: "I'm not going to be able to give proper judgment about his flight risk. Let me tell you that it's shot in a secure, remote location surrounded by many, many acres of impenetrable jungle. It's not somewhere I'd want to run away from."
Even with Blagojevich unable to participate, the incident is a gain for NBC. The network has received tremendous publicity for its summer series as a result of offering the slot to the former governor.