NBC Win$ Battle to Chat Up Paris

Checkbook journalism charges and denials fly as 'Today' beats out Barbara Walters
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2007 11:36 AM CDT
Meredith Vieira, co-host of the NBC "Today" television program, tries to hold down her skirt from blowing up in the wind, during the show in New York's Rockefeller Center, Friday June 15, 2007. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – NBC seems to have beaten out ABC in a bidding war for the first TV interview with post-jail Paris Hilton, although both networks and the Hilton family officially deny that money changed hands. Paris will come clean to Meredith Vieira rather than family pal Barbara Walters, the Times quotes anonymous ABC execs saying, unless an offer materializes that
tops $750,000.

The battle is the latest in the war for morning ratings and high-profile interviews. Aggressive bidding has helped the Peacock score recent victories even though the party line is that networks never pay for interviews. Package deals like the one that landed Princess Diana's sons on "Today" and compensation for materials like family photos help skirt that restriction.