Irwin's daughter, 8, to make TV debut


CANBERRA - The 8-year-old daughter of Australia's "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin kicks off her American showbiz career this week with a series of high-profile television appearances and speeches across the U.S.

Bindi Irwin, who will star in the 26-part "Bindi, the Jungle Girl" series on Discovery Kids network this year, will address the National Press Club in Washington, as well as appear on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "The Late Show" with David Letterman.

"She'll be welcomed with open arms and rightly so. She's a very special child," Discovery senior vice-president Annie Howell told Australian media on Monday.

Steve Irwin, 44, died on September 4 after a stingray's serrated barb pierced his heart while he was filming scenes for a documentary off Australia's northeast coast.

Bindi's U.S. tour coincides with the airing of the "Ocean's Deadliest" documentary her exuberant, khaki-clad Australian naturalist father was working on when he died.

While with her U.S.-born mother Terri Irwin, Bindi and her Crocmen backing dancers will team up with The Wiggles for concerts in Los Angeles and New York. Bindi has been performing her show already to thousands at Australian Zoo's Crocoseum.

"That's what her dad did for the last three years, he went over every year and did that and he did a big show," manager John Stainton said.

As part of an Australian government promotion, she will also join Australian actors Russell Crowe and Naomi Watts, as well as Australian-born media baron Rupert Murdoch, for a gala dinner.

Discovery's Howell said Bindi's television series would premiere in the U.S. in the next several months.