Now that the trial balloon’s been floated, all eyes will be on public and industry reaction to a potential “Bill Clinton Show.”
A Clinton spokeswoman Thursday didn’t rule out the possibility, first reported in the Los Angeles Times, that the nation’s 42nd president might join the talk show fray with an “Oprah Winfrey”-style show.
Insiders are waiting to gauge what sort of impact the story will have on Clinton’s broadcast aspirations. Not only will public response determine whether Clinton decides to go forward with the project, but it’s likely to determine what sort of bidding war might develop among networks and syndicators in the coming weeks.
Naysayers wonder whether a talk show would further muddy Clinton’s presidential legacy. But proponents argue the show could do wonders in rehabilitating his image — after all, who’s more powerful or beloved than Oprah?
Of course, before Clinton takes on talk, every detail must first fall into place — including a hefty upfront paycheck for the ex-president (believed to be around $50 million).
News first leaked after longtime Arkansas pals Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason brought in NBC execs to meet with Clinton on Wednesday, but other suitors have quietly been pursuing the former leader of the free world as well.
For its part, Clinton’s office said the meeting was informal — and that he’s made no “demand” in signing up for talk show duty.
“He went to listen,” said spokeswoman Julia Payne. “The president is gratified by the range of opportunities that have been presented to him.”
Any show, sources said, wouldn’t launch until 2003, giving Clinton ample time to decide whether he’s ready to jump into the syndie fray.