Julian Assange. Photo credit: BBWBryant
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has announced that he is to host his own TV series in which he promises to interview “key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries” from around the world.
In a media release published on the WikiLeaks website on Monday, Assange said the 10-part series would be based on “the world tomorrow” and would feature interviews with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders.” WikiLeaks said the new TV series would air in mid-March, but did not reveal details of where the series would be broadcast or on which networks, noted The Guardian.
Assange has been detained under a European arrest warrant by Swedish prosecutors over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women during a visit to Sweden in August 2010. The WikiLeaks founder, who denies the claims, is awaiting a hearing at the supreme court for his appeal against extradition to Sweden.
“Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths? This is an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done before”, said Assange.
Show destined for YouTube? Adam Clark Estes at The Atlantic Wire examined the “optimistic-sounding press release” and doubted that the show will actually end up being picked up by major networks: “There’s no mention of which television networks – or Internet video sites – actually made these commitments. We have a sneaking suspicion that this thing could just end up on YouTube.” Clark Estes suggested that YouTube “would be a great fit for Julian Assange, who seems to love seeing his face on screen – any screen. In keeping with Assange’s ethos, YouTube is entirely democratic: anybody can upload a video from anywhere in the world. Major television networks can’t say that, and while Assange could probably bring in viewers, he also has a unique ability to polarize the population and alienate his partners. The show also seems like typical Assange stuff, the sort of thing we could never imagine a big network picking up.”
Assange the fameball. Gawker greeted the news by saying that Assange’s “transformation into a fameball is now complete. Julian Assange, the seed-spilling sex creep who devised an elaborate scheme involving a secret-killing web site and an international espionage investigation in service of his ultimate goal of becoming famous, is launching a television talk show.” Gawker sniped that Wikileaks’ claim to have “initial licensing commitments cover over 600 million viewers across cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks” is “precisely as true as his claim that ‘hundreds’ of women want to marry him.”
Who’s on the guestlist? Josh Halliday at The Guardian’s News blog mulled who Assange might get on his TV sofa. Halliday’s suggested iconoclasts included Tony Blair – “the camera-friendly former prime minister has never knowingly turned down a good interview opportunity” – Rupert Murdoch – “as a fellow native Australian, Murdoch is sure to greet Assange like a long lost brother. Right?” and Hillary Clinton: “A conversation between Mr Cablegate and the US secretary of state would amount to little more than a 30-minute standoff. Which makes it a superb idea.”