Toronto Mayor Rob Ford – who has apologized in recent weeks for using vulgar language on live television and admitted to public drunkenness and crack cocaine use – is getting professional help but still harbors dreams of running for prime minister as his new TV show premieres tonight.
“I’ve admitted to drinking too much, OK,” Ford told Fox News Sunday. “So I’m dealing with it. I’m training every day. I’m in the gym two hours every day. I’m seeking professional help. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not a drug addict.”
Just as the embattled mayor is getting help, he is also getting his own reality-TV show.
“Ford Nation” will feature Ford and brother Doug Ford, who is himself a member of the 44-member Toronto city council that stripped the mayor of some of his powers. The show will air Mondays at 8 p.m. on the tabloid Sun News Network but there were few details about the format released.
The Ford brothers had previously hosted a popular radio show on Newstalk 1010. The program was cancelled Nov. 8.
“Following the cancellation of their top-rated radio show, we approached the Fords about hosting a show on our network,” Kory Teneycke, Sun News Network vice president, said in a story on the TV network’s website. “We are delighted to announce they have agreed
“We are in the age of reality TV and it doesn’t get more real than the Fords.”
The firestorm has apparently not dampened Ford’s political ambitions. “I take that same approach to politics so if people want to start bringing up personal stuff, that’s fine,” he told Fox. “And, yes, one day I do want to run for prime minister.”
Ford, 44, has been the focus of intense media attention since reports surfaced months ago of a video that purportedly showed his smoking crack. With his admission earlier this month that he did, indeed, smoke crack in one of his “drunken stupors,” the scrutiny has reached fever pitch.
He shocked reporters and viewers last week when he used sexually crude language on live TV. In denying allegations that he told a former staffer he wanted to have oral sex with her, Ford said Thursday: “It says that I wanted to eat her p****. I’ve never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.”
A short while later, Ford was back on TV again to apologize for the graphic nature of his remarks. His wife, Renata, was by his side.
Although Ford has apologized for embarrassing his constituents, he has refused calls for him to step down. He was elected to a four-year term in 2010.
Unless Ford is convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail, the Toronto City Council cannot remove him from office.