10 Minutes of Video for $200K, Then There’s That Exclusive Interview

By Chris Ariens 

The LATimes reports on tonight’s ABC News “Family Secrets” special which includes up to 10 minutes of video ABC licensed from a production company at a cost of $200,000. More than 40 hours of footage was shot, following the Jackson family over a six-month period. Michael Jackson was not involved.

ABC News producers thought the year-old footage was worthwhile because tonight’s hour-long show will focus on what will happen to Michael Jackson’s three children, sources said. In the footage, it is revealed that Katherine Jackson, whom Michael Jackson named in his will to raise his children, is, in fact, raising several of the King of Pop’s nieces and nephews. But the network maintains that Joe Jackson was not paid for the interview, which took place two days after Michael Jackson’s memorial service, sources at ABC News said.

ABC News insists the exchange of money for footage has nothing to do with landing the exclusive interview, but critics are citing it as the latest example of checkbook journalism, the practice of indirectly compensating interview subjects by paying licensing fees for home videos or other perks, such as first-class plane tickets.

Rob Kaplan of APA, the talent agency that represents Xonger Global Entertainment Network, which produced the videos, tells the Times, “ABC did not pay Joe Jackson for the interview. It came through my office, and we negotiated with ABC and it was on behalf of our client, Xonger.”

Will You Watch Tonight’s Michael Jackson Special on ABC?(polling)