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Will it be Judge Jesse?

Jesse Ventura may become a judge.

Not a real judge, just a television version of one.

Preliminary talks between Twentieth Television and the former Independence Party Minnesota governor apparently have begun for him to star in a half-hour court television show premiering in a year.

Twentieth declined comment, Ventura could not be reached on Monday and there was no answer at his agents' office.

The TV Week publication reported talks are progressing.

An official for the Katz Television Group, which provides television programming advice to stations, told TV Week that Ventura's history as a navy frogman and a talk-show host "might have the star power to distinguish himself from the welter of court shows."

"Jesse is a bigger-than-life personality, and there is always an advantage of having a brand name like his attached to a show," Katz's Bill Carroll told the publication. "That personality could especially work well in the court genre, where he could break through in a crowded field. Needless to say, it would be hard to confuse him with the other judges."

This year, Ventura toyed with running for U.S. Senate, announcing on national television the night before the July filing deadline that he would not run unless God told him to before the deadline. He did not file.

He was Minnesota governor from 1999 to 2003, making a name for himself with outlandish comments, working as commentator on a failed football league and refereeing professional wrestling matches.

TV Week reports court shows are among the most popular on the tube, with 11 series on the air in first-run syndication. Three new ones are scheduled to debut this fall.

Many of the new court shows feature personalities, a contrast to recent low-budget attempts.

Shows such as Ventura is considering include "Judge Judy."

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. He can be reached at (651) 290-0707 or