Hired by NBC to promote I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, premiering June 1, disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, 52, is unapologetically trying to cash in on his infamy.
"I'm looking forward to having an opportunity through the court system to prove my innocence," said Blagojevich, who describes his foray into entertainment from politics as a reverse career path of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "But at the same time I'm interested in trying to pursue a way to earn a living."
The show, set in a Costa Rican jungle, will test the survival skills of such celebrities as Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, Sanjaya Malakar and Janice Dickinson, among others. The winner will be able to donate a cash prize to a charity of their choice.
No Bug-EatingBut don't expect to watch Blagojevich eating bugs, rats, or facing other extreme situations since a court has restricted him from leaving the country, deeming him a flight risk. He won't be a contestant on the show, but is merely lending his name to raise the bizarro quotient of the assembled cast.
If anything, Blagojevich says, he's just looking for a change of pace outside of the bare-knuckled world of politics.
"[This] is a chance to do something that's really fun and entertaining compared to some of the other things that I got to deal with that frankly suck, period," he said. "At this point I'm looking for a new line of work."
Reporting by PAMELA WARRICK and ALYSSA DIKITANAN