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Ventura says MSNBC nixed his show for not supporting Iraq War

• StarTribune

Conspiracy theorists awaiting Wednesday night's premiere of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" might take interest in a curious comment Ventura made in the Los Angeles Times this weekend.

Ventura, who has been doing the media rounds promoting his new venture on TruTV, told the paper that MSNBC cancelled his show "Jesse Ventura's America" in 2003 because he did not support the Iraq War. He said the network "in essence" paid him to be silent, which allowed him to purchase a house in Mexico. 

This is not your first venture into TV hosting since leaving the governorship. What happened to "Jesse Ventura's America," which ran briefly on MSNBC in 2003?

It was awful. I was basically silenced. When I came out of office, I was the hottest commodity out there. There was a bidding war between CNN, Fox and MSNBC to get my services. MSNBC ultimately won. I was being groomed for a five day-a-week TV show by them. Then, all of a sudden, weird phone calls started happening: "Is it true Jesse doesn't support the war in Iraq?"

My contract said I couldn't do any other cable TV or any news shows, and they honored and paid it for the duration of it. So in essence I had my silence purchased. Why do you think you didn't hear from me for three years? I was under contract. They wouldn't even use me as a consultant!

When you live in Mexico, your houses all have names. I almost named my house Casa MSNBC because they bought it. I was paid like a professional athlete, and I got very wealthy. For doing nothing.

When Ventura's show was cancelled in 2003, a Star Tribune article noted that he was receiving "a reported" $2 million annually -- certainly enough to live comfortably in Baja. A source "close to the production" said at the time that the show was cancelled because of high production costs.


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