ABC, at least, is charging that it got outbid for an exclusive post-jail interview with Paris Hilton by NBC. NBC counters to the New York Times’ Bill Carter that “NBC News does not pay for interviews â€” never have, never will.â€ Carter rightly notes, however, that in today’s TV-news market, there’s paying and then there’s “paying”: “Deals involving payment for production materials, not for the interviews themselves, have become increasingly common as networks seek to secure exclusive arrangements with prominent people.”
If a payment in some form is being made, it’s hard to blame Paris, a disadvantaged young woman who clearly needs a few bucks to get by after she finishes doing hard time. We all know The Man never wants to give a second chance to a debutante with a criminal recordâ€”what happens when her conviction comes up next time she fills out a job application on an edition of The Simple Life? She’s paying her debt to society! Time for society to pay back!
NBC News, on the other hand, would seem to have some ‘splainin’ to do to its employees, given that it just recently gutted its news division to save money. [Update: Radar Online reports ABC News looking to whack 35 jobs, sadly too late to raise the cash for Ms. Hilton.] Meanwhile, as Howard Kurtz notes, the network just got an interview with Princes Harry and William after its entertainment division ponied up $2 million for a Diana tribute concert.
Ah, giving to the needless to obtain the unnecessary! It does one’s heart good! But let’s wait until the interview to judge, shall we? Maybe Paris knows where Osama bin Laden is.
[Update #2: The LA Times reports that–with NBC backtracking after the bad publicity–Ms. Paris may now be left without a network to tell her story to at all. Maybe Daddy can buy her one.]