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  #1  
Old 01-19-2005, 11:22 AM
Dignan Dignan is offline
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How do television talk shows get interviews?

Primarily I'm thinking about the news shows, like the morning shows or magazine shows on the big networks. I imagine that for everyday people, there is money exchanged, or the prospect of free publicity for an upcoming book or movie. What about government employees? Are they allowed to be compensated? With interviews for members of a presidential administration, do the interviewees require final approval of the questions?

The specific case that interested me was hearing that Colin Powell gave his first interview on his visit to the tsunami disaster area to Diane Sawyer. How would he have decided to go to ABC instead of another network?
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2005, 12:34 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Network news shows don't pay for interviews. Celebrities might get some sort of scratch-your-back arrangement (in exchange for your special on our network, we'll promote you on the Today Show.) Government and political types do interviews because they want to get their story out/look good/undercut their opponents, etc.

Late night talk shows do pay their guests, but in an arrangement that goes back to the early days of television, then only pay union scale.

Other than that, it's all negotiation. Interviews are booked by "producers." (I put it in quotes because the TV news job is completely different from the movie job.) I talked to the hospital publicist after the McConaghey sextuplets were born. Networks (and talk shows) were all trying to get exclusive interviews, or at least be first.

Network A would offer a slot on its morning news program.

Network B would offer a better time slot on its morning news program.

Network C offers the morning news program AND a slot on a primetime news magazine.

Network A comes back with offering a "star" correspondent to do the story, and so on.

Sometimes producers for different shows on the same network compete with each other for the same interviews.

The opportunity to dictate terms of the interview (live vs. tape, prescreen questions, etc.) depends directly on the clout of the interviewer and interviewee.

Diane Sawyer is noted for doing her homework and being relentless. Her secret in getting the first interview with Colin Powell may have been nothing more than being the first to call and/or saying "We'll have a crew go with you so they can record what you see, and when you're ready, we'll interview you right then."
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2005, 02:21 PM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dignan
I imagine that for everyday people, there is money exchanged,
Never. Never never never. The most an ordinary schlub will get is a hotel room, a cab /imo ride, and munchies if it's an early morning interview. Heck, the most anyone will get is a hotel room, a cab ride, and munchies.

Quote:
With interviews for members of a presidential administration, do the interviewees require final approval of the questions?
Only if the segment producer is a total idiot or if the interviewer is over-ruled by some high-level marketing schmuck who doesn't care what the interviewee says as long as he appears on the program. People being interviewed make a lot of demands. Rarely do they get granted. (At least on the shows I work on. Other shows may have more relaxed ethical standards-- like every entertainment show currently in existence )

Quote:
The specific case that interested me was hearing that Colin Powell gave his first interview on his visit to the tsunami disaster area to Diane Sawyer. How would he have decided to go to ABC instead of another network?
Well, Powell has been a public figure for many years, and has appeared on ABC--and all the other networks-- repeatedly. It's likely a combination of which network person Powell likes better, combined with what steps the interviewer is willing to take to talk to him first (meet him at the airport and talk in a cab, harass him until he gives in, etc...)
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:55 PM
stuyguy stuyguy is offline
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Another aspect of the interview dodge is the on-camera expert.

Some experts, authors, specialists, etc. have promoters or handlers who will try to push their guy onto the show producers. University p.r. types will sometimes act as promoters for members of the faculty if an academic expert is needed. They will call or fax media outlets saying, in essence, "There's another anthrax scare. Do you need a bio-terror expert? I've got just the guy."

Of course, more frequently, it works the other way. Reporters/producers will call up, say, a college and say, "I need a Tsunami expert. Got anybody?"

My experience is that hard news interview experts generally do not get paid, but guest experts that contribute substantially to a not-really-hard-news segment do.
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2005, 05:00 PM
MaryEFoo MaryEFoo is offline
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If you take a great video-cam shot of a tsunami in action, or a landslide, or cops beating up someone, or evil criminals doing a crime, would you get paid for it? How much?
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2005, 11:58 AM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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If you ask for money, you'll get paid at a freelance rate, if your video is actually of decent quality, and you present it in a timely manner. The rate varies from place to place.

When I was taking video in Vancouver, if a never-before-aired person came to me with said video, and I thought it could be used, I'd offer $100, and be willing to go up to $150. My regulars would get $150-200, depending on the piece.
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