Whitney Houston’s Hairdresser Cashes In On Her Death, As NBC Opens Checkbook For Photos

By Alex Weprin 

One of the few people in the room with pop star Whitney Houston when she died is apparently cashing in on her death. Houston’s hairstylist Tiffanie Dixon was there when the singer was found in the bathtub Saturday February 11. On Friday, Dixon spoke to both NBC’s “Today” and “Dateline”… for a price of course.

NBC News licensed photos from Dixon, and featured them both on both shows along with two interviews: Tamron Hall on “Dateline” and Ann Curry live on “Today.” Staffers at both ABC News and CBS News confirmed to TVNewser that those networks had been offered the photos and interview, for a fee, and passed.

As TVNewser has covered over and over again, news organizations routinely “pay” for interviews by licensing photos, videos or other materials from potential subjects. Other times, when someone has a book to sell, they will guarantee placement on certain shows, or on dedicated primetime specials.

It is not immediately clear how much NBC licensed the photos for, but typical fees range from $10,000-$20,000. Hall mentioned that NBC had licensed the photos when they appeared onscreen during both “Today” and “Dateline.”

WATCH the “Today” piece:

Last Summer ABC News and NBC News got into a verbal tiff over licensing fees. ABC — which had been one of the worst offenders — changed its position and publicly stated it would effectively end the practice. NBC News, in a statement, snarkily “thanked” ABC for ending the practice, but did not disclose that it routinely licenses material in exchange for interviews.