05/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Blagojevich On "Today" Show: Judge Saved Me From Eating Bugs (WATCH)


Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared on NBC's "Today" Show Thursday in his first interview since a federal judge denied him permission to travel to Costa Rica to participate in the reality show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here."

Blagojevich said that he was disappointed with the decision, but "the judge did save me from eating bugs." However, he didn't rule out appearing on the show in some other way and said he was traveling to Los Angeles to discuss those options.

Asked by host Meredith Viera why a former governor "would want to be on a show like this ... running around in the jungles of Costa Rica," Blagojevich said it was all about money.

"We have two little girls, I have a mortage to pay. I'm obivously looking for a new line of work."

And the show, Blagojevich said, reminded him a bit of his former occupation.

"The idea of being in a jungle, toughening it out, sort of creating a little civil society with other people and seeing how you could govern that society is not that unlike what it was like when I was governor of the fifth largest state in America."

UPDATE 3:30 P.M.

Blagojevich's publicist says the indicted former governor will "promote" the NBC reality show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" despite a judge's order barring him from traveling to Costa Rica to be a contestant.

Blagojevich, who has said he wanted to do the show for the paycheck, also planned to donate some of the money he would have made to charity, his publicist claims.

From a release issued by The Publicity Agency:

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich delivered a suprise during an appearance this morning on NBC's 'Today' show by announcing he would be heading to L.A. to promote the upcoming reality program 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.'

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Chicago said he would not alter the former governor's bond allowing him to travel to Costa Rica to participate in the show.

"He's mindful and respectful of the court's ruling that he can't leave the country but we're still exploring ways for him to be part of the show," says Glenn Selig, Blagojevich's publicist and founder of the PR firm, The Publicity Agency ( "He wants to be supportive of the program."

Selig declined to elaborate on the options being explored.

The former governor will attend a press event for NBC this Friday, April 24.

Blagojevich had hoped to earn a salary for appearing on the program that airs in June, in addition to raising money for his favorite charity.