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Jay Leno Gets Rush Limbaugh to Drive Green

September 21, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Jay Leno needs to keep the good ratings going for his new NBC primetime show.

Now it looks like the jokemeister has found just the supercharge he needs in talk radio show icon Rush Limbaugh.

Rush is set to make a guest appearance on the “Jay Leno Show” and will participate in a spot called the “Green Car Challenge.”

Interestingly, the segment has an additional element that should have publicists drooling. This Thursday the Leno audience will have the chance to watch Rush put the pedal to the metal in an electric Ford Focus. He’ll be driving fast and furious-style around a custom-built track right next to Leno's studio.

Limbaugh will be trying to beat the track times of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, and Drew Barrymore, who have agreed to be “Green Car Challenge” participants as well.

Getting Rush on the show in this way is a win-win idea.

The broadcast veteran may not be particularly fond of hybrid or electric cars, but he’s a naturally competitive guy and is generally jazzed about companies that turn down bailout money, as in this case, Ford.

Producers of the new Leno show should get a lot of mileage out of a conservative driving a green mobile.

And the network may even weave in some powerful product placement, which should result in a lot of folks giving the car company mega ditto shout-outs in the form of Ford purchases.

On another talk show front, syndicated television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw may inadvertently be assisting federal prosecutors.

McGraw had a San Marcos, Calif. couple on as guests, and the relaxed atmosphere of the show, along with the good doctor’s beguiling manner, had his guests announcing on national TV that they’d been fencing stolen property.

Thanks to some boasting by Matthew Eaton, 34, and his wife, Laura, 26, on an episode of "Dr. Phil," it was revealed that the couple procured a cool $100,000 by stealing toys and selling them on eBay.

And if that weren’t enough, the couple also showed a video of a three-day shoplifting spree in which they brought along their three children for what Matthew called "easy money."

Federal agents were watching, and as a result the Secret Service and San Diego Regional Fraud Task Force later searched the Eatons’ home and seized the alleged stolen items.

The Eatons were arrested, and each was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce. If convicted, each could be sent to prison for more than three years.

Despite prosecutors having the TV confession, video, and physical evidence, the Eatons have pleaded not guilty.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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