Off the Grid’ on Ora TV will feature ex-wrestler and former pol opining on current events and U.S. politics
By Todd Spangler
Jesse Ventura is set to host “Off the Grid,” a daily talkshow on Internet-video site Ora TV that will feature the ex-wrestler, former Minnesota governor and libertarian rabble-rouser sounding off on a range of current events.
The show, to debut in January, will cover topics ranging from Obamacare to the NSA spying scandal — focusing, Ventura said, on the hypocrisy of America’s political leaders.
“I have a difficult time being able to express my independent viewpoints about our country,” said Ventura, whose real name is James Janos. “What we have with Ora is a means to express myself uninhibited. I can say what I feel without censorship.”
Ora TV’s major investor is América Móvil, the Latin American wireless service provider majority owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Ventura hooked up with the New York-based webcaster after he appeared on Larry King’s “Politicking” talkshow, which also is produced by Ora TV.
“Larry and I got discussing, and he said, ‘They’ll give you the freedom to do what you want,’” Ventura said.
In a dollop of marketing hype, Ventura said “Off the Grid” will be produced at “undisclosed locations” outside the United States, purportedly to avoid the threat of government censorship. “This will be like Radio Free Europe, broadcasting propaganda over the Iron Curtain,” he said. “This will be Internet Free America.”
“Off the Grid” is tentatively scheduled to go live Jan. 20, 2014. The show will tape two or three days per week and run four to five episodes weekly on Ora.TV, with additional segments during the elections. Allison Glader and Jason Rovou are executive producers.
Ventura, 62, said the Internet broadcasting format will free him from the interference he’s encountered in the TV biz. In 2003, after leaving the Minnesota governor’s office, he signed a three-year contract with MSNBC — but, he claimed, “unfortunately they didn’t let anyone on the air who disagreed with the Iraq war. I got paid for three years and I did nothing.”
As an example of the “hypocrisy” he plans to highlight, Ventura criticized American leaders who eulogized Nelson Mandela even as the country continues to operate the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility. “The hypocrisy of the U.S. is [that it is] holding people in Guantanamo until they die. How dare we go honor Nelson Mandela when we are doing the same thing?”
He likened the approach of “Off the Grid” to the show he had on Turner’s TruTV, “Conspiracy Theory,” which ran from 2009 to 2012. ”We’ll go to places and talk about things you won’t hear in the mainstream media,” Ventura said.
Ventura’s show will be free to watch. Ora TV is approaching prospective advertisers about sponsoring “Off the Grid.” CEO Jon Housman admitted the show will appeal to a narrower set of marketers than more general-interest fare: “Political content tends to attract different kinds of advertisers.”