Patti Blagojevich eating bugs on NBC for a Tampa charity
The Children's Cancer Center was chosen after a two Chicago-based charities, including the Bear Necessities Pediatric Foundation, turned down Mrs. Blagojevich's offer; her husband acknoweldged on the radio that other charities turned her down, as well (apparently, they were still a little worried about that whole "husband under indictment for trying to sell Barack Obama's old Senate seat" thing).
Blog readers will remember Glenn Selig, a former reporter at Tampa Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 now representing Blagojevich and Drew Peterson as a publicist (here's my story on him from February).
Selig reached out to the charities on Mrs. Blagojevich's behalf, turning to the Tampa organization after two Chicago-area charities turned her down. A spokeswoman for the center issued a statement: "We view her as a wife, mother and provider taking the challenges of this show to support her children and help others, very similar to how we at the Children’s Cancer Center have partnered with the show to support the children we hold dear and help their families through the unimaginable, a child battling cancer.
As a non-profit organization, struggling in a challenging economy, we felt the show’s high profile opportunity could benefit our children and the many struggling families that we serve. It is an honor and privilege to have such a “gift” bestowed upon us and hope the very best for the many deserving charities involved who have been given the same opportunity."
The Center seems a popular charity for reality TV stars; Tina Greene, second place finisher in last fall's edition of CBS's The Amazing Race, is the center's incoming chairwoman, and the charity was also featured on ABC's unscripted show Oprah's Big Give. “Every show is looking for some kind of sensationalism to get people to watch,” said Greene, noting Race often showed her arguing with then-estranged husband Ken. “We chose to look at this as a positive step...I just wish i had been paid like that to do The Amazing Race."
Blagojevich's Web site on her jungle stay is here.
Selig's explanation for Mrs. Blagojevich's support: “The Children’s Cancer Center does phenomenal work and Patti is dedicated to the cause of pediatric cancer so the two are a perfect fit,” says Selig, spokesman for Patti and her husband, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “The longer she stays on the show, the more money that comes here to help do incredible work with children affected by cancer.”
So at least some good can come from seeing the wife of a disgraced politician repeatedly humiliated on national television.
Mrs. Blagojevich headed to the jungle when a judge's order kept her indicted husband from leaving the country. She joined a motley crew of semi-celebrities including Lou Diamond Phillips, former NBA star John Salley, reality TV mainstays Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, American Idol reject Sanjaya Malakar, Janice Dickinson and Stephen Baldwin.
Click below to read Selig's press release explaining more:
That's because the longer a celebrity stays on the NBC blockbuster summer program, the more money that goes to a celebrity's charity of choice. And Blagojevich, the wife of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, chose the Children's Cancer Center in Tampa.
Money is raised throughout the broadcast of the 'I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!' series from viewer donations, and all monies will be donated into the "I'm A Celebrity..." charity fund, which will be divided among the benefiting charities chosen by Patti and the other participating celebrities.
'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here' airs four nights a week on NBC at 8/7c.
Upon completion of the series, the money raised will be divided into equal shares. Each competing celebrity's charity is entitled to at least one share. The charity of the winning celebrity who is crowned King or Queen of the Jungle is entitled to three shares and the charities of the celebrities finishing second and third are entitled to two shares each.
The Children's Cancer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children who have cancer or chronic blood disorders and their families with the educational, emotional, and financial assistance necessary to cope with their life-threatening illnesses. It is a Four Star Charity as rated by Charity Navigator for its financial management.