ABC News Pulls Out Checkbook for Van Der Sloot Photos; Gets Exclusive Interview

By Alex Weprin 

Tomorrow night, ABC News will present a special edition of “20/20,” featuring an exclusive interview with Melony Granadillo, the ex-girlfriend of Joran van der Sloot. Van der Sloot is the alleged killer of a Peruvian woman, and is also wanted in the United States on charges related to the death of Natalee Holloway.

While news organizations maintain that they do not pay for interviews, they routinely pay “licensing fees” for photos, videos or other materials. Often the people licensing the content will then give “exclusive” interviews to the news organization that bought them.

In the case of Friday’s “20/20” special, ABC News licensed photos and text messages from Granadillo, and will feature them on-air. An ABC News spokesperson tells TVNewser it will disclose that it had licensed the material during the broadcast.

The exact amount of money that ABC News paid for the photos and texts is unclear.

In March, lawyers revealed that ABC News had paid the family of Caylee Anthony $200,000 for rights to use photos and home videos. While ABC News featured another interview with the Anthony family this week tied to the anniversary of Caylee’s disappearance, a network spokesperson tells us they did not license any new photos or video from the Anthonys this time.

In addition to licensing fees, news orgs will occasionally offer other perks, such as paying for hotel rooms or flights. We don’t know if Granadillo was extended those perks as well.