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December 24, 2003

HOLIDAY HAITUS - WHO KNEW?
The story could have been shorter.

Lights dim on Jesse Ventura’s MSNBC show
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — After a two-month run, former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s cable show is off the air and there are no immediate plans for MSNBC to bring it back.
The news channel’s president, Erik Sorenson, sent a memo Tuesday to staff announcing he was extending a previously announced holiday break for the show.

“I’ve decided to focus the majority of our resources on Monday-Friday primetime in 2004,” Sorenson wrote. “Consequently, the holiday hiatus for ’Jesse Ventura’s America’ will continue indefinitely.”

Ventura’s phone number is unlisted, and he has refused interviews with local reporters since leaving the governor’s office in January. His Los Angeles-based agent, Barry Bloom, didn’t immediately return a call Wednesday from The Associated Press.

The hourlong Saturday evening show, taped in St. Paul, featured the former professional wrestler commenting on issues of the day. His interviews with guests sometimes got combative, and he closed the show each week by picking a hero and dork of the week.

Neither Ventura nor MSNBC has revealed how much he is paid or whether he will receive a paycheck regardless of the show’s status.

The show debuted in October, but the Saturday time slot was far less than the weeknight prime-time show MSNBC had originally planned.

Ventura had a weekly radio show during his four years as governor and was a television commentator for the XFL, an alternative football league that folded after airing for one season on NBC.

Sorenson said Ventura will continue to serve as a political commentator for MSNBC during the 2004 campaign season.