Sly sexy Julian
Jan 24, 10:08 AM (ET)
By RAPHAEL SATTER
LONDON (AP) - You've read his leaks. Now watch his show.
Cyber-transparency activist Julian Assange says he's launching a career in television, hosting what he's billing as a new brand of talk show built around the theme of "the world tomorrow."
The show's guests haven't been disclosed, but Assange has promised to give viewers more of what he's been supplying for years: Controversy.
The WikiLeaks secret-spilling site said in a statement released late Monday that "iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders" would be brought in so that Assange could challenge them on their vision of world affairs and "their ideas on how to secure a brighter future."
The world of television talk shows is a new one for the 40-year-old Australian, whose group has orchestrated the biggest mass-disclosures of secret documents in U.S. history. But the statement argued that Assange was uniquely qualified for the role given his past as "a pioneer for a more just world and a victim of political repression."
Ellis Cashmore, an expert on celebrity culture at England's Staffordshire University, wasn't so sure.
"Assange has got a good, deep voice and agreeable Aussie accent, but he's a slow, deliberate talker and not especially televisual," Cashmore said in an email. "To be true to his image, he would have to make his proposed show subversive; and that might not appeal to many would-be guests."
WikiLeaks said that the show would begin airing in mid-March, although how the show will be produced and who will carry it are open questions.
It's not even clear Assange will be free to host the show. He's currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he's wanted over sex crimes allegations, and U.S. officials are still weighing possible charges linked to his attention-grabbing leaks.
In its statement WikiLeaks referred queries about the series to the hitherto obscure Quick Roll Productions, whose website carried no indication of where the group was based or who was managing it. An online records search indicated that Quick Roll's site was created about two weeks ago.
Neither Quick Roll nor WikiLeaks returned emails seeking further details on their project.
Could anything be more predictable, Really? Isn’t television – Newton Minow’s “vast wasteland” – the eventual kitchen and burial ground for everything under the sun and moon? I mean, if Al Sharpton can host a talk show, why not miscreant-of-a-feather Julian Assange?
I remember vividly visiting, cap in hand, the personnel offices of the Big 3 television networks on 6th Avenue in Manhattan in the fall of 1975, filling out tedious employment forms in my bad handwriting and attesting to my words-per minute typing skills and the fact that I didn’t have a criminal record. Like today (but not nearly as dire), that was considered a difficult time for recent college graduates to find a job. Apparently only clerk-typists and messengers need to have clean records. Aspiring hosts like “cyber-transparency activist” Julian Assange require more colorful calling cards.
If I were Bill Maher and Ed Schulz, I’d be shaking in my loafers. Someone new is gunning for the “most unpleasant face on tv” title and he’s a real blonde. Bonne chance, Julian. And good luck with that pending Swedish legal matter. As you said, I’m sure you were framed.
The Kinks: Predictable (video link)
Cute “kicky” Julian