Publisher Michael Viner of Phoenix Books might be sweating today. He’s the guy who paid former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich a reported six figures to write a book about his rocky time in politics.


And yet a chair that was signed by Blagojevich on the Jimmy Kimmel Show recently and then auctioned for a good cause raised only $10,200.

Keep in mind, Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat. Kimmel was making a joke when he asked the beleaguered ex-governor to help sell the Kimmel seat. Blagojevich smiled in that disturbing way and said it was okay with him as long as everything was legal and ethical.

The chair has been sat in — and documented on television — by Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Charlize Theron, the Jonas Brothers, Tom Cruise, Megan Fox, Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Eminem, and many others.

Blagojevich signed the cushion in large letters. Last night Eva Longoria-Parker was sitting in the chair looking gorgeous and you could see Blagojevich’s name scrawled on the cushion behind her.

I don’t know about you, but $10,200 seems pretty dismal to me. A collector’s item with that pedigree being sold for a good cause seems like it would have brought more.The Blagojevich connection might have actually hurt the sales price since the former politician comes across as such a sleaze bucket.

I’m wondering how many people will be willing to spend $25 on his tome. Phoenix Books is probably wondering the same.


  1. I admit it’s a medical improbability that a corpse would sweat.

    Now I’m the one who’s sweating.

    Here’s a “Publishers Weekly” report from last month:
    “Michael Viner, who as head of Dove Audio helped develop spoken-word audio into a mainstream product but who may be better known for publishing controversial books, died over the weekend after a battle with cancer. Viner founded New Millennium, using many Dove titles to help launch the company. After New Millennium filed for bankruptcy in 2004 (following a court ruling that New Millennium owed author Otto Penzler $2.8 million for breach of contract), Viner resigned and started Phoenix Books in June 2005, once again drawing on spoken-word and print titles from his past companies.

    Phoenix was acquired by Dwight Opperman in November 2007 with Viner staying on as president. In a prepared statement, Opperman said, “We are deeply saddened by this loss.”

    Phoenix’s current list includes titles from Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who was forced to resign, plus Duchess of Death: The Biography of Agatha Christie and The Price: My Rise and Fall as Natalia, New York’s #1 Escort.”