Charity won't take Patti Blago's tainted 'I'm a Celebrity...' winnings

Patti Blagojevich, wife of deposed Illinois governor Rob, is appearing on NBC's reality show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here. The game, which is a sort of Survivor meets Big Brother with a bit of Fear Factor mixed in to give it dignity, strands a batch of semi-famous fame-seekers in an assiduously lit and shot corner of Costa Rican jungle. Then it challenges them to tend the fire and eat the odd insect as the show's few viewers call in to vote out the worst. Everyone appearing on the show is playing for a charity of their choice. At least, that's the concept.

But Chicago's NBC affiliate reports that Patti's first-choice charity, the kids' cancer foundation Bear Necessities, thought it was better not to touch her money. Her husband still stands accused of trying to milk $50,000 from Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital in exchange for $8 million in state funding, and because Bear Necessities works closely with the hospital, it has decided to decline Patti's offer of a donation. Instead, Madame Blago switched to the equally worthy Children's Cancer Center.

Times are tough for charities these days, what with the reduction in donations and the Madoffization of monies that they'd managed to squirrel away. The last thing a respectable charity needs is to shoulder the stigma of impropriety, too.

For example, it could get stiffed by the celebs themselves. Last night, Spencer Pratt and his simpering wife Heidi walked out on the show and shortchanged their charity beneficiaries, the American Red Cross and Feed the Children, claiming they're big that they could handle the hit. Classy.

Feed the Children told that it was "disappointed" that the Pratts apparently ditched the show, decimating its potential donation, which is derived from a fund that comes from donations from viewers of the program.

Not that I'm a Celebrity... doesn't have its rewards. They're just for the viewer, paid in guilty pleasure. On Monday's show, a positive-spirited Patti was washed down a river like illegal cork in a Major League baseball bat. And last night, after the sight of live snakes slithering across the face of American Idol's Sanjaya Malakar (who's acquitting himself well), Pratt and his flesh-colored beard were "baptized" in a river by Stephen Baldwin, not that Jesus's repeated lessons in mercy and generosity were ultimately heeded.

Good times. They're doing it for charity. What are the viewers doing it for?
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