A media career for Blagojevich? Not so fast.

 
 
Published: 8/17/2010 9:24 PM

It's no secret former Gov. Rod Blagojevich loves being in the limelight - the talk show appearances, the autograph signing, the reality TV gigs.

Given that he was found guilty on just one of 24 counts _ lying to federal authorities, he may have the freedom to develop a new career path _ albeit with a retrial looming.

So making a switch from a political to a media career as a talk-show host might seem natural to those watching the last few months' antics. Hey, former Chicago City Clerk James Laski, convicted and imprisoned for bribery, is doing it on WGN radio.

And after all, Blagojevich will need something to pay the bills, assuming he won't have to spend a long time behind bars on the one felony count conviction.

"He's broke, man, broke!" Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. shouted during his closing arguments.

Rod and Patti Blagojevich, according to prosecutors, are more than $200,000 in debt.

The couple's credit card bills, displayed during the trial, showed the pair spent more than $400,000 on clothes for themselves during a six-year period.

And his $2.8 million campaign fund, being used to pay lawyers, was "zeroed out" last week, according to the federal court clerk's office.

Phoenix Books, the publisher of Blagojevich's tell-all book, "The Governor," closed abruptly this spring. While the effect on sales and royalty payments is not yet clear, Blagojevich, in a statement, noted he would be "no doubt" impacted by the "ripple effect."

Blagojevich, who also served as a Congressman, may very well try his hand at a media career, but it's no sure thing, a well-known pop culture and media critic says.

"I can't see - without some new skills that he doesn't seem to be born with - him being able to carry on a television show," Syracuse University Professor Robert Thompson said.

A native of Westmont, Thompson, now director of Syracuse University's Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture, has been keeping tabs on both Blagojevich and the trial.

Blagojevich might have some experience under the belt after appearances on this spring's "Celebrity Apprentice" and on the late night talk-show circuit following his impeachment.

Despite that, Thompson says, "He's been out there, and face it, he's not that interesting."

One avenue that might work, Thompson said, would be a reality show of life at home with him and Patti.

"I would watch something like that," Thompson said.

If Blagojevich does pursue a career in media, it might serve him well to take notes from Laski, who in 2006 pleaded guilty to taking $48,000 in payoffs to get companies into the city's scandal-plagued Hired Truck Program.

While serving 11 months in a West Virginia federal prison, Laski wrote an autobiography, "My Fall from Grace," which hit best-sellers lists. He now serves as a popular talk show host on WGN radio.

While Blagojevich stands to lose his state pension in a process that would kick in after sentencing, he presumably would be able to keep his pension from six years in the U.S. House, which he left in 2003.