ABC Denies Paying for Joe Jackson Interview

By Andrew Gauthier 

ABC News is being accused of checkbook journalism after landing the first sit-down interview with Joe Jackson following the recent death of his pop superstar son, Michael. Segments of a 45-minute interview with the Jackson family patriarch have already aired on ABC’s “Nightline” and “Good Morning America,” but the bulk of the interview will air tonight on the network as part of its summer series “Primetime Family Secrets.”

TVNewser first raised questions about whether Jackson was paid upwards of $200,000 for the interview. Now, The Los Angeles Times reports on how ABC News is trying to set the record straight…
On Monday, details of the footage and deal emerged from Xonger Global Entertainment Network, which produced it, and APA, the Beverly Hills talent agency hired to negotiate licenses with domestic and international buyers. Xonger was granted intimate access last year to the Jackson family to film a reality series centered around patriarch Joe Jackson as he tried to reunite his sons for a tour, said executive producer Lisa Love.

Over 40 hours of footage were filmed, following the Jacksons in their Encino estate as well as traveling around the country over a six-month period. Michael Jackson was not involved in the project, and Love would not name other family members who participated. She also said the company had not tried to sell the series or any footage before the singer’s death on June 25.

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 buying them first-class plane tickets. More…