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Tête-à-tête between Conrad Black and Rob Ford to get extended airtime

After taping an interview with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Conrad Black heads to a waiting vehicle asked under city hall on Dec. 6 2013.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The broadcast of a meeting between a sesquipedalian former media baron and an elite-bashing mayor will air a week ahead of schedule and at twice the originally intended length, according to ZoomerMedia, the company behind Conrad Black's interview program.

Mr. Black chatted with Mayor Rob Ford for roughly 40 minutes on Friday for his weekly show The Zoomer. Originally scheduled for Dec. 16 as an eight to 10-minute interview segment, the tête-à-tête is now slated to run at between 17 and 20 minutes on Monday, according to ZoomerMedia spokeswoman Leanne Wright.

The two will discuss a few subjects dear to both of them, including "media intrusion," according to Ms. Wright.

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Despite their differences, the two likely share some thoughts on the subject of the press.

"You're a priggish gullible British fool," Mr. Black told BBC interviewer Jeremy Paxman last year, before saying he was proud of coming through his jail sentence with enough sanity to "endure a discussion like this without getting up and smashing your face in."

Mr. Ford has referred to reporters as "maggots."

If an online promotional segment featuring Mr. Black is any indication of the tone of the conversation, the interview promises to highlight more parallels between the men and their well-documented run-ins with the criminal justice system. The mayor has rebuffed lingering questions about his fitness for office after a lengthy police investigation and his own admission of crack-cocaine use. Mr. Black, meanwhile, has continually lashed out at his detractors in the media and the U.S. justice system for targeting him during a criminal prosecution that led to jail time for fraud and obstruction-of-justice convictions.

"The piling on to Mayor Rob Ford has been excessive," Mr. Black states in the clip, posted at "He was elected mayor of Toronto and those who do not like his style will be free to vote against him if he runs again. If there is sufficient evidence to prosecute him with crimes, due process should be followed. But he should be accorded a full presumption of innocence unless he is justly convicted. Beyond that his accusers should put up or shut up."

The interview will air at 9 p.m. on Vision TV's The Zoomer, a program for the over-50 set hosted by the former head of the world's third-largest English-langauge newspaper conglomerate and Denise Donlon, ex-president of Sony Music Canada.

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About the Author
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More


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