NBC's "I'm a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here!" cast announcement on Friday, April 24th includes a couple exciting names, such as "The Hills" stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. Unfortunately in their absence (we hear they have some more important plans this weekend), the focus instead turns to a non-contestant, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who just happens to be in Pasadena to greet puzzled journalists.
But first, let's get to this season's contestants who will be roughing it in the Costa Rican jungle:
John Salley, NBA great and host of "The Best Damn Sports Show Period"
Janice Dickinson, the first supermodel, self-professed non-bitch
Sanjay Malakar, "American Idol" contestant, hairstyle pioneer
Torrie Wilson, wrestling champ and actress
Stephen Baldwin, the youngest Baldwin brother, actor
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (not present at session)
Three additional names will be announced next week, with one "big name" promised by a cagey publicist.
Blagojevich's presence on stage sets the room abuzz and most of the conversation revolves around his disappointment in not being a contestant, assertions of his innocence and in his words: "I'm looking for my day in court."
So why is he even doing press … other than having a forum to proclaim his innocence? Pure publicity.
During his talks with NBC in a bid to do the show, "I got to know some of the people and get to know the contestants … even if I can't participate, they said I could promote it, talk about it," he says.
The show's producer Jayson Dinsmore also points out that the show is primarily about entertainment and deadpans: ""Rod is certainly entertaining."
Both Blagojevich and NBC claim that there have been no talks about compensation thus far. It's also to be determined if he will have a future role in the show.
Although the conversation eventually shifts from Blago, it's all fairly innocuous from there. A few pokes at Malakar for his time on "Idol," a self-deprecating poke by Baldwin about being on the bottom of the Baldwin totem pole and Dickinson talking about how being part of the show helps out charities don't do much to recapture the spotlight for the show itself.
What do you think of the cast so far? Would you watch? What do you think about Blagojevich's participation?
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