NBC: We bagged first chat with White House Party "Crashers"
(This post has been updated)
NBC bragged Monday that "White House Party 'Crashers' " Michaele and Tareq Salahi will give their side of the Great State Dinner Kerfuffle exclusively to Matt Lauer, via remote hookup, Tuesday morning on "Today" show. Set your alarms for 7 a.m.
Imagine the surprise of CNN's Larry King, whose producers had managed to contact the Salahis directly last week and book them for King's show Monday night, only to have the Salahis's wrangler, Mahogany Jones, call CNN back before the cable news network could even get out a news release boasting about the "get" to "postpone" the interview while promising faithfully that when the Salahis finally did talk, Larry would get first crack.
A CNN rep told us Jones shed no light on why she was "postponing" the interview. So the dumping of Larry in favor of Matt must remain forever a mystery. Except, oh wait, Michaele is the leading candidate to become Supreme Diva on Bravo network's "Real Housewives of D.C." And, in one of those incredible coincidences that makes covering the TV industry so life affirming, Bravo is owned by.....NBC!
According to sources who want to remain anonymous because why should they be any different from anyone else whose been in duck-and-cover mode on this story, not one dime of money made its way to the Salahi coffers for this interview. This tip is no doubt in response to reports the Salahis cancelled on Larry in order to seek the highest bidder for the interview in which they are expected to insist they did not realize they were breaching security when they allegedly crashed last week's state dinner whose attendees included the allegedly heavily protected President of the United States.
But, even if Michaele Salahi isn't going to see a dime off of her chat with Matt, she could stand to see some real coin if she becomes a regular on "Real Housewives of D.C." and becomes Famous for Being Famous. Maybe she'd launch a clothing line. How about a new perfume? Maybe even a Michaele Salahi Bobblehead Doll, complete with red and gold sari and a little White House dinner "invitation." The possibilities are endless. But, sadly, Bravo will not yet confirm whether Salahi has made the "Real Housewives" cut. Maybe this came into play as the Salahis were deciding to stick it to Larry and cozy up to to NBC's "Today" show.
Typically, Bravo does not formally announce which lucky Ladies Who Lunch have been chosen for a coveted "Real Housewives" slot until shortly before the show launches. But we all know that normally, a chick whose already grabbing this kind of attention would be a slam dunk. The show's producer had already been tailing the glitteringly blonde Michaele for weeks, up to and including her arrival at the security checkpoint at last week's White House State dinner.
But instead of dancing the happy dance over the millions of dollars in free show publicity last week's alleged security breach has lobbed in the direction of the new "Real Housewives" spinoff, Bravo suits have been flinging themselves on their sofas, chewing the cushions in an ecstasy of grief.
On the one hand, here they are, sitting on a ratings motherlode. On the other hand, Bravo is owned by NBC Universal which, at presstime, is still owned by behemoth General Electric, which does not necessarily want to embarrass the White House, the Secret Service, or, for that matter, any division of the federal government with which it does business -- particularly for the sake of a little reality series about Ladies Who Lunch in Washington.
And, speaking of the feds: In another one of those mind-boggling coincidences, the Salahis's appearance on "Today" comes just two days before their command performance before the House Homeland Security Committee, whose chair, Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss) says the Salahi's have been invited to show up at the hearing, but whose committee rep says will not rule out a subpoena if the much-in-the-news couple declines the "invitation."
It appears the Salahis's are taking a page from the David Letterman Playbook, and will spin the potentially career-killing story in the Court of Television before the case goes before the big guns.
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