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Culture

Austrian Kidnap Victim Kampusch Gets Into Showbiz

Natascha Kampusch, who was kidnapped as a girl in Austria and made headlines by breaking free after eight years in captivity, appears ready to be back in the spotlight. Her new talk show is coming to Germany.

Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch (L) interviewing Austrian racing legend Niki Lauda during her own TV talkshow which will be broadcast on 01 June 2008.

Kampusch interviewed racing legend Niki Lauda for her first show

Sometimes, it seems, 15 minutes of fame are just not enough.

Natascha Kampusch became a household name in 2006, when she escaped from Wolfgang Priklopil, the man who had kidnapped her at age 10 on her way to school and shut her up in a dungeon beneath his garage, where he abused her for eight long years.

At age 18, Kampusch escaped Priklopil, who immediately committed suicide.

Natascha Kampusch was interviewed on Austrian channel 'ORF' in September, 2006

... and came back a woman,

The case exposed a horrifying, parents-worst-nightmare story that many Austrians hoped (against reason, it now seems) would be one-of-a-kind.

It resulted in a massive media circus, and, not surprisingly, gave rise to some serious cultural rubbernecking.

Coping with the media

One of the many questions that emerged from the Kampusch tale was how the victim of such a horrifying crime could, or should, deal with such an intense blast of media exposure.

As the story unfolded, the newspapers and airwaves were full of psychologists who offered their opinions on the matter. Most of them made a plea to the media vultures to leave the poor girl alone, explaining it was the only way to give her a fighting chance at a normal life.

But instead of trying to quietly fade into the woodwork of a new and anonymous life, the 20-year-old Kampusch is seeking out the spotlight. She seems to have adopted the motto "a best defense is a good offense."

Kampusch moves to "switch sides"

In a move to "switch sides and be the one who creates the show," Kampusch developed her own chat show, In Conversation With… Natascha Kampush. It aired June 1 in Austria on the tiny private television channel Puls 4, which is a subsidiary of Pro Sieben Sat 1. It was watched by 4.7 percent of viewers.

And the show is going international: Tiny German news channel N24 (market share approximately one percent,) has picked up the first instalment of the chat show, which featured a conversation with well-known Austrian Formula One race car driver Niki Lauda. The episode will air Wednesday, June 11.

The show will run once a month in Austria, although it is unclear whether N24 will continue to broadcast the interviews.

Back in 2006, the public could not get enough of Kampusch, the little girl who went to hell and came back as a woman to tell about it. Whether public curiosity is enough to carry a talk show series – or whether Kampusch has the talent to carry a show over the long term even if the curiosity wanes -- remains to be seen.

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