Conrad Black strikes deal with ZoomerMedia to host weekly television talk show

TORONTO – Conrad Black will soon be coming to a television near you.

The former media baron has reached a deal with ZoomerMedia (TSXV:ZUM) to host his own weekly, 60-minute current affairs talk show.

The flagship show, titled “The Zoomer – Television for Boomers With Zip” is being touted as a weekly “take” on the world from the point of view of those aged 45 and over.

It will begin airing across Canada on ZoomerMedia’s Vision TV channel in late spring.

ZoomerMedia head Moses Znaimer says Black was the ideal candidate for the job.

“He’s one of the most learned men in the country. He’s a well-established historian of serious stature. He’s a witty conversationalist,” Znaimer said in an interview Monday from Miami, Fla., where he is promoting the show at an international television sales conference.

“He has views on just about anything. If you are ever giving a dinner party — this is the guy you want to invite.”

The show, which finished shooting its pilot episode early Saturday in Toronto, has been in the works for the past four to five months.

Each episode will have Black interview “some of the world’s greats” and end with an editorial segment titled “Talk Black” where he gives his commentary on issues “that really get under his skin” like the U.S. justice system, ageism, gun control and the financial crisis.

Znaimer remained tight-lipped about who Black may interview on the show, but added that there was “not a significant personality on the planet that Conrad cannot get to.”

The show will also feature a roundtable discussion on various topics such as current affairs and health by co-host Denise Donlon, former CBC Radio executive. It will also include visits from book authors and actors and have cooking and live performance segments.

Znaimer, who is best known as the co-founder and former head of Toronto’s CityTV, says that being a Zoomer nowadays is all about re-invention and Black exemplifies that mantra.

“I think Conrad is in some ways the perfect example, of someone who, for various reasons, has to constantly make and remake himself and I think this (show) is very brisk and attractive first step in that direction,” he said.

Black is the former CEO of media giant Hollinger International and founder of the National Post newspaper.

He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison after he was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of Hollinger. He returned to Canada last May on a one-year temporary residency permit.

Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001, so he could accept a title in the British House of Lords.

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