ABC News has again emerged the winner in the political-sex-scandal category of network news competition, locking down Congressman Gary Condit's first television interview about the Chandra Levy case.
The embattled California Democrat will sit down with ABC correspondent Connie Chung for an interview to be aired Thursday night, according to Condit aide Michael Dayton. The interview is considered the biggest "get" in television news since ABC's Barbara Walters nabbed Monica Lewinsky.
Chung won a furious behind-the-scenes battle for the interview, even though Walters and fellow ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer were also reportedly seeking it.
Condit, who has been in virtual seclusion since he admitted to romantic involvement with Levy, a 24-year-old Washington intern who has been missing since May 1, will talk to Chung from his district in Modesto, Calif.
Police have said the 53-year-old married congressman is not a suspect in Levy's disappearance and that there's no proof a crime was committed.
Condit's political consultant, Richie Ross, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Up until Monday, CBS News had high hopes that Condit would speak to 60 Minutes, where the interview would likely have been assigned to Ed Bradley.
NBC News' Stone Phillips also was seeking the interview. But Condit was considered unlikely to speak to that network because it devoted more time to the Levy disappearance than its rivals.
At the same time, CBS was considered to have a strong chance because anchorman Dan Rather resisted the story on the CBS Evening News. Rather didn't do a story on the matter until July 18.
Condit has been planning his strategy, even while hunkered down in his California home, with a barrier of campers and pickup trucks parked outside to shield against television cameras. He is expected to send a letter to his constituents outlining his plans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report