'Go Kinky' TV Reality Show Follows Texas Campaign

Published November 09, 2005

| FoxNews.com

Want to get Kinky? Just turn on the TV.

Author, entertainer and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, complete with cigar, black cowboy hat and Southern drawl, is about to star in his own reality show.

"Go Kinky," airing on Country Music Television, follows Friedman, an independent candidate, on the campaign trail in the Lone Star State.

“Every crazy redneck in Texas is for Kinky,” Friedman told FOXNews.com from his ranch in Medina, Texas.

A successful mystery novelist, Friedman led a band called Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys, founded in 1971. He penned songs like “Ride ‘Em, Jewboy” about the Holocaust and “Wild Man From Borneo” about a person in a cage as part of a circus.

CMT will air a sneak preview that shows Friedman eating hot chili on a warm Texas day at a campaign event, shaking hands with voters and going to the barber.

The preview debuts Thursday at 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. EST, and the show may go full throttle if CMT decides to extend the two pilot episodes into a fall 2006 series that coincides with the prime political season.

Friedman faces fierce competition in the race for governor, to be decided on Nov. 7, 2006.

Incumbent Republican Rick Perry is seeking re-election. Other candidates include state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is challenging Perry in the GOP primary, and Democratic candidate Chris Bell, a former congressman from Houston.

Friedman will need up to $5 million just to get his name on next year's ballot, managers say.

Texas election law says Friedman will also have to collect 45,540 signatures to get on the 2006 ballot. He will not be able to start gathering signatures until March 8, the day after the state party primary elections, and can only collect signatures from registered Texans who did not vote in any primary. Friedman will have until May 11 to turn the signatures in and qualify for the ballot.

The last independent gubernatorial candidate to win office in Texas was Sam Houston in 1859.

Texas election law does not directly address the question of whether a candidate can have a reality TV show, said Tim Sorrells, deputy general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission, which oversees elections and political contributions.

As long as CMT doesn't support Friedman's candidacy for governor or does not intend to do so, the show wouldn't fall under Texas law as a political contribution, Sorrells said.

Friedman is not profiting from the show, said Laura Stromberg, a spokeswoman for the campaign.

His campaign platform — its slogan is "Why the hell not?" — calls for legalizing casino gambling to fund education, reviewing death row inmates and outlawing the de-clawing of cats. Some of his strongest backers are country music star and longtime friend Willie Nelson and wrestler-turned-Minnesota-governor-turned-talk-radio-host Jesse Ventura.

Last month, Nelson hosted a fundraiser at his central Texas ranch and private golf course that raised $170,000 for Friedman's campaign.

CMT chose to follow Kinky because of his country music career, said network spokeswoman Amanda Murphy. CMT carries other reality shows such as "Cowboy U" and "Popularity Contest."

David Steinberg of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” directed the pilot episodes, which Friedman said helped tell stories from his campaign in a funny way through the perspective of the director's first visit to Texas.

“It gives you his take on Texas as a big, strange, magical place,” Friedman said.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/11/09/go-kinky-tv-reality-show-follows-texas-campaign