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Mayor Rob Ford approached for reality TV show

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was asked about developing a reality TV show.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The production company behind American Chopper and Dirty Jobs has approached Toronto Mayor Rob about creating a reality show, The Globe and Mail has learned.

During Mr. Ford's visit to Los Angeles last month for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he was contacted by Pilgrim Studios. The company is also behind such programs as Ghost Hunters, Girl Meets Cowboy and Wicked Tuna.

"I'm writing because I'm interested in speaking with you and Mayor Ford about the possibility of developing an unscripted television project together," an executive of the studio wrote to the mayor's spokesman at the time, Amin Massoudi, in an e-mail obtained by The Globe.

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The mayor's chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, said Friday that he was unaware of the request, and did not know whether a meeting ever took place.

Sémi Aboud, Pilgrim's vice-president of talent development and casting, told The Globe Friday, "I cannot discuss projects in development" – but would not confirm whether this meant there is a project under development.

Still, the mayor's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, has mused publicly in the past about the possibility of a reality television show.

In November, he told the National Post that the mayor has been contacted by "everyone from Oprah to Dr. Phil. … You name the person, we've got calls from them. There's a massive market in the U.S."

Currently, the pair host their own YouTube series called Ford Nation.

The most recent episodes, uploaded Friday, feature Councillor Ford reading "fan letters" to his brother, and the mayor responding, sometimes in Jamaican patois. Earlier this year, a surreptitiously filmed video of the mayor at a fast-food restaurant using explicit language and rambling in patois was uploaded to YouTube.

In another episode of Ford Nation also uploaded Friday, Councillor Ford reads a letter from a supporter, saying: "Really Fordsy, shut your office blinds, grab a beer, throw your feet up on top of the desk and kick back." In response, the mayor says: "Well, I was just going to say it wouldn't be just one beer, so that's a problem."

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Mr. Ford isn't the first controversial figure in which Pilgrim Studios has expressed an interest. The company has developed documentary-style programs based on the lives of Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Fleiss and Sarah Palin.

Mayor Ford has been the subject of controversy ever since his admission last year to having smoked crack cocaine "in a drunken stupor."

Earlier this week, the Ontario Provincial Police revealed that they've stepped away from overseeing the ongoing Toronto Police investigation targeting the mayor, citing a lack of new information.

Mayor Ford said Friday the fact he has not been charged after the months-long police investigation shows that he has done nothing wrong.

"I said months ago there's nothing there and there's nothing there. If there's something there, arrest me. There's nothing there," Mr. Ford said.

The investigation, Project Brazen 2, centres on the actions of Mr. Ford and his friend Alessandro Lisi and Mr. Lisi's attempts to retrieve a video that shows the mayor inhaling vapour from a glass pipe, police documents show. Mr. Lisi faces extortion charges in connection with that video.

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With files from Elizabeth Church

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About the Author
National Food Reporter

Ann Hui is the national food reporter at The Globe and Mail. Previously, she worked as a national reporter and homepage editor for theglobeandmail.com and an online editor in News. More

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