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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN DEC 17, 2000 18:02:38 ET XXXXX
BILL CLINTON TV SHOW PITCHED; POST-PRESIDENCY PLANS TAKE SHAPE
Is the world ready for "The Bill Clinton Show"?
When he leaves the White House next month, one of Bill Clinton''s career options will be to launch a weekly TV show, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Clinton pal Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has quietly pitched the idea, according to sources, with the NBC network expressing early interest in the project.
"It would be an interview show in the great tradition of David Frost," said a well-placed source. "The president would not openly advocate issues or criticize George W. Bush, that is not his motivation."
The concept is in "exploratory" stages.
The show would have immediate clearance in foreign territories and would be financially lucrative, predicted one Clinton insider.
A White House spokesman refused to comment on the president's plans for the future.
A Bill Clinton TV show would be a back-to-the-future of sorts for the nation's 42nd president. In an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb in 1988 -- recorded after Clinton delivered a disastrous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention -- the Arkansas comer said he would have a media career if he were not in government.
"I could see myself doing some TV... being involved in the media somehow," Clinton told Lamb.
-- Filed By Matt Drudge
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Lisa de Moraes
When does a phone call from an NBC executive to pitch a TV show idea to Hollywood producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth Thomason become really big news?
When Matt Drudge's Internet site reports that it was the Thomasons who called NBC to pitch a weekly talker to be hosted by their friend Bill Clinton--and the story is picked up and sent out on national news wires.
"The Drudge Report is incorrect; it was NBC's initial idea," NBC spokeswoman Shirley Powell told The TV Column late yesterday.
Word of the alleged project broke late Sunday on the Drudge Report, which said that Linda Bloodworth Thomason had quietly raised the idea of a Clinton-hosted interview program and that NBC had expressed early interest in it.
When reporters called NBC early Monday, the network fueled the flame by confirming that an NBC suit had had an informal phone conversation with the Thomasons and that the Thomasons had initiated the conversation, though it was not a formal pitch meeting.
But later in the day, NBC rep Powell says, she learned that NBC had initiated the phone call and the idea.
By then, stories about the Thomasons pitching a Clinton show to the GE-owned network had already appeared on the Associated Press and Newsday.
According to several NBC executives, the call was made by Ed Wilson, president of NBC Enterprises. Wilson is a fellow Arkansan and longtime friend of Harry Thomason.
At the request of another NBC exec, Wilson about four weeks ago called Thomason to inquire if he would pass along to the soon-to-be-ex-president that NBC wanted to know whether Clinton would entertain the idea of hosting a weekly interview show, along the lines of NBC's "Meet the Press."
Contacted yesterday, Harry Thomason also said that NBC called them.
"Neither Linda nor I have ever held a pitch meeting with NBC or anybody else about the services of the president," he told The TV Column.
"We're too busy concentrating on our pilot with [chef] Emeril Lagasse to worry about the president's next job," Thomason joked. "We're sure he'll be fine."
White House spokeswoman Nanda Chitre told the TV Column that nobody has pitched any TV show to Clinton, adding, "I would pretty much dismiss it."
"The president hasn't decided what he's going to be doing other than spending time working on his library and making the transition to private citizen."
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