A spokesman for Paris Hilton has denied a report appearing in the New York Post on Thursday that the jailed socialite had accepted an offer of $1 million for an exclusive appearance on the Today show upon her release.
"Contrary to media reports, Paris Hilton is not being paid for any television channel interview. Nor is Paris being paid for any collateral, including video and photographs related to any television interview," the spokesman said. And an NBC spokeswoman told today's a US newspaper, "NBC News does not pay for interviews -- never have, never will."
However, another newspaper quoted Poynter Institute journalism-ethics professor Al Tompkins as saying that networks today are making "end runs" around their policy not to pay for interviews. The newspaper cited last week's Matt Lauer interview with Prince William and Prince Harry, which aired on the Today show and Dateline after NBC agreed to pay $2.5 million for the rights to air a tribute concert to Princess Diana.
TV channel ABC's Barbara Walters has acknowledged that she offered to buy family photographs and videos of Paris and other material from the Hilton family for $100,000 in return for an exclusive interview. She told the New York Times that Rick Hilton called her back Wednesday that the offer was "not even in the same galaxy" as NBC's offer.
Referring to reports about an NBC-Paris Hilton deal, Tompkins said, "I don't know what transpired here, but what I do know is that any compensation that comes through a network -- whether it's a book deal or movie deal or offering special access -- none of that has any place in news."