NEW YORK – Politics merges with entertainment this week as the contentious California governor's race takes centerstage on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (search) and HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher." (search) Both shows will host key figures in the chaotic battle for control of the California governor's office.
In the first appearance, movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) has chosen tonight's edition of "The Tonight Show" on NBC - rather than a more-traditional venue such as CNN's "Larry King Live" - to announce whether he'll throw his hat into the ring as a Republican candidate for governor.
If he says yes, he'll likely face former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and former gubernatorial candidate William Simon in a Republican primary next year.
Schwarzenegger last appeared on "Tonight" on June 26 to promote the release of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." (search) Back then, the seven-time Mr. Olympia body-building champion side-stepped questions about his political intentions. He said he had not decided about the governor's race and that he was only thinking about the movie and what he would wear to the premiere.
Meanwhile, the man at the center of the political turmoil in California - Gov. Gray Davis (search) - will turn up Friday night for a live interview on HBO's "Real Time" (11 p.m.). Davis may have agreed to appear on the show as the result of an op-ed column written by Maher that was published July 24 in the Los Angeles Times.
Maher, who did not endorse Davis in the piece, nevertheless came out against the recall drive which threatens to shorten Davis' term as governor.
"Maybe he's a lousy governor, but he was the one elected by voters who bothered to show up at the polls. Their efforts shouldn't be undone by disgruntled shoppers signing a petition on their way out of Target," Maher wrote.