Paris Hilton To Be Released!

After almost a month behind bars, Paris Hilton is expected to be released from jail on Tuesday.
Wednesday night, she will be doing a sit-down interview with Larry King. But, her CNN appearance was not Hilton’s original plan.
"Networks distance themselves from Paris interview"
NEW YORK -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo learned the hard way that decisions involving Paris Hilton bring sharp scrutiny.Her 23-day sentence (and the subsequent controversy over her early release and reimprisonment) unwittingly exposed the overcrowding of L.A. County jails. Now, in the latest example of the odd alchemy worked by the socialite's celebrity, Hilton's attempt to land a lucrative media deal has unintentionally brought discomfiting attention to a practice the networks would rather keep quiet: their willingness to compensate subjects for exclusives.On Friday, executives at ABC, NBC and CBS all said they were no longer interested in interviewing the heiress after a series of conflicting behind-the-scenes negotiations with her family were made public, torpedoing Hilton's efforts to secure a major network interview for her first post-jail sit-down. The abrupt turn-around came coming after intense jostling between the news divisions for an exclusive.Hilton's family triggered the scrutiny this week by telling ABC that NBC was willing to pay close to $1 million for an exclusive upon her release, a story NBC promptly disavowed. But outrage built over the prospect that Hilton could profit from her stint in jail for violating terms of her probation for alcohol-related reckless driving charges.A Hilton spokesman later put out a statement saying she was not being compensated for any interviews.Hilton would not have been the first to profit from such an arrangement. Television news divisions have long found ways to woo prospective interview subjects without paying them directly, whether through posh hotel suites and Broadway tickets or "licensing" fees for home videos."It's the way that the networks have been doing business for years," said Joe Angotti, a former senior vice president at NBC News. "It's always bothered me, and it bothers me more now that I'm out of the business. They feel that it does not cross the line as long as they don't write a check. It's a very fuzzy line, obviously."One longtime network producer familiar with the booking wars said that that most major broadcast interviews involve some form of indirect compensation such as first or business class plane tickets, limousines, and five-star meals."It's all built around the idea of plausible deniability so that extremely reputable journalists can say with a straight face say they didn't pay for the interview," said the producer, who did not want to be quoted by name discussing internal practices. "It's just seen as the cost of doing business. And as the competition has increased: There's been a sense of, 'What more can we do to up the ante?' "Network officials defended their tactics, insisting that paying to use personal footage or putting interview subjects up in hotels does not amount to checkbook journalism."NBC News doesn't pay for interviews, period," said Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for the news division. "There are situations in any news story where the licensing of material is part of the booking, but I think everyone understands what is reasonable and what's not."Earlier this week, ABC executives said they had lost their bid for an exclusive with Hilton to Meredith Vieira, co-anchor of NBC's "Today" show. Hilton's camp indicated that NBC had offered the family a better deal: a licensing fee between $750,000 and $1 million for the use of personal videos and photos, besting ABC's offer of $100,000.But when news of the negotiations leaked out, NBC said it had no commitment from Hilton and would not pay for an interview. However, the network continued to negotiate behind the scenes for a sit-down that did not include any form of payment, according to an NBC source.At the same time, the jailed socialite and her family — apparently fearful of losing a major network interview altogether — frantically sought to secure a deal with ABC's Barbara Walters.The lobbying took the form of a flurry of late-night phone calls. Just before midnight Friday on the East coast, Paris' mother, Kathy, a friendly acquaintance of the ABC anchor, called Walters her at home and said that the 26-year-old wanted to do the interview with Walters, no strings attached.Then around 2 a.m., Walters received a call from Paris Hilton herself."She expressed her regret that all kinds of negotiations seemed to have gone outside her control and she only wanted to do this with Barbara," said the ABC executive, who did not want to be identified discussing internal matters.In the morning, Walters received another message in her office from Hilton's father, Rick, reiterating the family's interest in having her do the story.Irked by the machinations, Walters and her producer David Sloan decided against it.Hours later, NBC News — which had told "Dateline" employees in its Burbank office to prepare for a possible interview with Hilton after her expected release Monday — also pulled itself out of contention. Late Friday afternoon, Gollust said that network executives had informed Hilton's camp that NBC was no longer interested. CBS News took the same stance.The socialite could still find a platform with a cable personality like CNN's Larry King. Christa Robinson, a spokeswoman for the cable news channel, had no comment on whether CNN was trying to book Hilton, but emphasized that the network does not pay for interviews. Rival Fox News said that they were not in formal talks with Hilton, but did not preclude doing a sit-down.If all fails, there's at least one interviewer who's apparently still interested in Hilton: Ryan Seacrest, who interviewed the heiress from jail Thursday via phone for E! News. No compensation was involved, he said."I just realize that the media used me to make fun of and be mean about it," Hilton told Seacrest, saying that she is "frankly sick of it, and I want to use my fame in a good way.""I think that God makes everything happen for a reason," she added, "and this is my time to figure out what my purpose is in life."
"ABC Says It Was Outbid for Paris Hilton Interview"
How much is an interview with Paris Hilton worth? Representatives of ABC News said yesterday that they had lost to NBC for the first interview with Paris Hilton after her release from jail next week because ABC was unwilling to make a “high six-figure deal” with Ms. Hilton’s family.
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Los Angeles County Sheriff, via Associated Press
Paris Hilton, in jail in California, was said to prefer Meredith Vieira.

NBC executives did not deny that they had had discussions about interview rights with Ms. Hilton, though the news division said yesterday that it could not yet confirm any interview would take place.
The spokeswoman for NBC News, Allison Gollust, insisted, however, that “NBC News does not pay for interviews — never have, never will.”
ABC representatives said they had been given the background on the negotiations by their correspondent,
Barbara Walters, who had been in the middle of talks with the Hilton family to secure the interview for the network. Ms. Walters herself declined to comment.
According to the ABC representatives, who asked not to be further identified because they were not authorized to reveal details of the negotiations, ABC had agreed to pay $100,000 to the Hilton family in a deal for the interview. The deal would have included access to materials owned by the family, like photographs or videos of Ms. Hilton.
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.
Ms. Walters told ABC executives that Ms. Hilton’s father, Rick Hilton, after getting the ABC offer last Sunday, called back Wednesday to say that the interview would go to a competitor, because at $100,000 ABC was “not even in the same galaxy” in terms of what was being offered.
When pressed, Mr. Hilton acknowledged that NBC was the other network involved, the ABC representatives said, and that
Meredith Vieira, co-host of NBC’s “Today” program, would conduct the interview.
Last night, though, the story took a new turn. The Hiltons’ representative said that despite ABC’s account, the family had not received nor requested any payment for an interview with Paris Hilton. Michael Sitrick, a crisis manager hired by the Hiltons, issued a statement saying, “Contrary to media reports, Paris Hilton is not being paid for any television interview nor is Paris Hilton being paid for any collateral material, including videos or photos.”
The bidding for the interview with Ms. Hilton is nothing new in the hypercompetitive world of the network morning news shows. NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” have struggled fiercely for more than a decade to book the most prominent newsmakers and celebrities, often engaging in one-upmanship stunts to secure subjects — known in the trade as “gets” — who might spike the ratings for their programs.
“Good Morning America,” habitually running second to “Today” — the NBC program recently recorded its 600th consecutive week as the morning leader — has been intensely aggressive in chasing such interviews in recent months, led by an anchor,
Diane Sawyer. She has secured several highly sought interviews, including one recently with Andrew Speaker, a lawyer who flew widely overseas despite having a rare tuberculosis infection.
Seeking to counter the impact from that coup, NBC made a strong tactical move: it removed advertising from the weakest-rated portion of “Today” that morning, meaning that part of the show would not be rated at all.
ABC News in turn suggested that the move proved NBC was getting panicky that “Today” might lose its edge over “Good Morning America” just as the “NBC Nightly News” has fallen from its longtime leadership to second place behind ABC’s “World News Tonight.”
Ms. Gollust dismissed that suggestion, saying, “We would have crushed them in the ratings that week even without doing that.”
More recently, NBC won the rights to an exclusive interview with
Prince William and Prince Harry of Britain. That interview was also part of a larger deal; NBC paid a reported $2 million for American rights to broadcast a concert in honor of their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Before the deal for Paris Hilton fell through this week, Ms. Walters had positioned herself to win the first interview after her release from incarceration. She had already had the only conversation with Ms. Hilton from jail, as she reported on her program “The View.”
The ABC representatives said that Ms. Walters was in frequent contact with Ms. Hilton’s family, as well as with Mr. Sitrick.
Ms. Walters reported to ABC that the Hilton representatives at first asked that she submit questions in advance for the interview, which she replied she was forbidden to do by ABC News. Then, she said, the Hilton people came back asking for the high six-figure fee for the interview.
After responding with the $100,000 offer, ABC waited to hear back from them. When Ms. Walters got a call this week, she told ABC, she received the news that ABC was not getting the interview.
As ABC representatives described the conversation, Mr. Hilton told Ms. Walters, “It is a money issue.” He was also reported to have said that Paris Hilton had made the decision to go with NBC and that she had chosen to speak with Meredith Vieira and not Matt Lauer because she believed that Mr. Lauer had previously made remarks about her she considered disparaging.
Ms. Walters questioned the decision, the ABC representatives said, noting that the Hilton side previously emphasized that Ms. Hilton’s credibility was the paramount issue in the decision to be interviewed. But ABC said Mr. Hilton replied, “Nobody turns down money like this.”
An actual amount was not discussed, but Ms. Walters told ABC that based on her previous conversations with the Hilton representatives, she believed that the offer from NBC surpassed $750,000.
NBC executives would not confirm yesterday that they had any agreement with Ms. Hilton at all.

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