CNN Drops Michael Moore Over Paris Hilton
CNN has decided to reschedule its planned Wednesday interview with director Michael Moore about his controversial new film "Sicko" after successfully ending negotiations with the Hilton family securing an exclusive interview with heiress Paris Hilton who is scheduled to be released from jail on Tuesday. The decision comes following an unsuccessful bidding war between ABC and NBC.
According to New York Times, Barbara Walters - who is friends with Paris' mother Kathy - was in touch with the Hiltons trying to secure the interview for ABC, which has in recent months aggressively pursued the most attractive celebrities and newsmakers for its "Good Morning America" show in an attempt to surpass NBC's competing program "Today" which has been dominant in the ratings over the past decade.
According to network insiders, ABC offered the Hiltons $100,000 for the interview, but after NBC - which recently paid over $2 million to secure a Matt Lauer interview with British Princes William and Harry - outbid that offer putting almost $1 million on the table, Paris' father Rick Hilton called Barbara to tell her that "nobody refuses that kind of money." People magazine, meanwhile, had made a deal to pay $300,000 for photos that would have accompanied an interview with Hilton.
At this point someone was bitter enough to leak information concerning the interview price tag to the media, causing NBC to do quick damage control and cancel the interview in what appeared to be a rather poorly executed PR backtracking ploy. In fact, NBC went as far as to attack gossip site TMZ which reported about NBC "pulling the plug," saying the interview had never been agreed in the first place.
After the entire PR fiasco, a spokeswoman for Larry King LIVE, Bridget Leininger, said yesterday that CNN got the exclusive interview, but no money had been paid. "Larry King never pays for interviews," she said. That however doesn't mean the Hiltons won't be cashing in on their daughter's release from jail.
Ms. Leininger admitted she was unsure whether the cable show was going to use any photos and if so, whether any fee would be paid to for such material or to Getty Images, a photo agency that had previously made a deal to acquire rights to the first pictures of Paris Hilton home from jail.