The Economic Times

Shows Of Power: World Leaders who tried to burnish their image by appearing on TV and web shows

ET Bureau|
NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER, INDIA
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NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER, INDIA

Bear Grylls, host of the Discovery show Man vs Wild, set Twitter abuzz on July 29 with his announcement, along with a teaser video, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be on his show. The episode, which will air on August 12, features the two visiting the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. This is the second time Modi will be on an international TV show. In 2016, he was interviewed by legendary US TV host David Letterman for his National Geographic show on climate change, Years of Living Dangerously. Modi is among the prime ministers and presidents who have tried to burnish their image by appearing on TV and web shows ranging from comedy to talent hunt.

ANI
BARACK OBAMA FORMER PRESIDENT, US
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BARACK OBAMA FORMER PRESIDENT, US

Certainly the hippest of world leaders in a long time, Obama broke the tradition of the US presidency being a sombre affair. In his second term (2012-2016), he was featured on a bunch of nonnews shows, including Jerry Seinfeld’s web show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (2015), which is now on Netflix, Zach Galifiankis’s Between Two Ferns (2014), the podcast WTF with Marc Maron (2015) and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, where they both shared a meal in Hanoi. On Comedians, Seinfeld asks Obama in the Oval Office if there is a trash can where he can throw a halfeaten apple. Obama replies, “You have to use the non-presidential garbage.” Obama and his wife Michelle struck a multi-year deal with Netflix in May 2018, as part of which they will produce documentary shows and a film.

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RAMZAN KADYROV HEAD, CHECHEN REPUBLIC
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RAMZAN KADYROV HEAD, CHECHEN REPUBLIC

Inspired by The Apprentice, the show that made US president Donald Trump a household name before he ran for office, Kadyrov in 2016 decided to find an aide through a reality show. From over 1,000 applicants, 16 were chosen to take part in an eight-episode series, The Team, where they were put through several physical and mental challenges. Though there were four women among the contestants, Kadyrov said he thought a woman’s place was at home. Finally, 24-year-old Filip Varichenko was chosen.

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DAVID CAMERON, FORMER PM, UK
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DAVID CAMERON, FORMER PM, UK

Cameron was among the interviewees on Inside the Commons, a four-part BBC Two documentary series about the House of Commons, similar to the Lok Sabha, filmed over a year and aired in 2015. "There isn’t a Wednesday that you don’t feel total fear and trepidation about what is about to happen,” Cameron says on the show. The PM takes questions from members of Parliament every Wednesday when the House of Commons is in session.

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