Paying For Hilton TV Interview? Save Money -- Take Trip To Paris, Stay At A Hilton.

In the fierce competition for whatever is left of network news, no one will admit to paying for high-priced, high-celebrity interviews -- especially for a sit-down with Paris Hilton.

Yet newspapers such as the New York Post say NBC will get to do just that with jailbird Hilton once she leaves the big house in a couple of weeks -- all for a cool $1 million.

The New York Times then reports this: "The spokeswoman for NBC News, Allison Gollust, insisted, however, that 'NBC News does not pay for interviews -- never have, never will.'"

Does someone have a bad-boy, offshore interview slush fund somewhere?

The Hiltons might not really need the money, I'm thinking. Yet, money is always the point -- whether one needs it or not. It's a sign of respect.



Tony Soprano would get it via those white envelopes: "It's been a good week, Tone," some associate would confide. Tony would never look inside. It didn't matter.

ABC had offered some money for the Hilton interview -- but it was essentially deemed chump change. Supposedly Hilton's father, Rick, said ABC's $100,000 offer was "not even in the same galaxy" in terms of what was being offered.

For its part, ABC hasn't denied making any monetary offers. Good for them. Checkbook journalism lives in a world of checkbook television and entertainment. You either pay for content or you don't.

The purpose of a Hilton interview is to spike big ratings in either NBC's "Today" or ABC's "Good Morning America" and sell big advertising. Don't blame the networks for trying to make hay in the slow-moving summer period. Not much going on of any import -- save some Iraqis and Americans getting killed in the Middle East.

It makes more sense to give the million dollars to an un-Hilton-like rich guy like Andrew Speaker, a lawyer who flew overseas despite having a rare tuberculosis infection.

This isn't TV brain surgery, nor about the money per se. It's about the commotion around the money. More publicity and press gets Hilton back in the good graces of the Hollywood entertainment and cultural elite -- not that she really ever left. Now, it's even better. She's got street cred.

If she were really honest about turning over a new leaf - not playing dumb, as she says -- she wouldn't even give any TV interviews.

But we know she'll speak, and you'll know when she does. The cash registers at all the clubs she attends will start ringing again. All that that means her next reality show, "The Unreal Simple Life" will be even bigger.

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