Sheriff: TV Paid for Balloon Stunt

Unnamed outlet blurs entertainment-news lines, says Alderden
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2009 6:08 AM CDT
Graphic provides details about the construction of the Heene family's balloon.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A shady TV operation may have already paid the Heenes for its balloon boy stunt, the Colorado sheriff investigating the case has indicated. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the unnamed outlet paid the family for the launch and may be complicit in the hoax. An agreement from the media operation to pay the Heenes was found during a police search of the family's home, according to the New York Daily News.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden didn't identify the media organization but said it was in an industry that blurs "the line between entertainment and news." It's unclear what, if any, charges the operation could face if it encouraged the hoax in any way. Alderden has said the Heenes spent two weeks planning the hoax.