60 Minutes' Hillary Dilemma

The battle to land the first sit down TV interview with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) took on a new twist yesterday.

Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Clinton's upcoming memoir, Living History, has reportedly been feeling out CBS 60 Minutes (search) about an exclusive interview. But CBS insiders apparently skittish about it because the senator's husband, former President Clinton, is under contract to appear on the news magazine.

According to the Drudge Report, the current front-runner to interview Clinton now is ABC's Diane Sawyer, who also attended Clinton's alma mater, Wellesley College.

One network insider vented that whichever network lands Clinton will probably have to agree to a legal-sized page of ground rules in order to conduct the interview -- something 60 Minutes tends to steer clear of.

Another said: "In this business you never count your chickens before they're hatched."

Officials at CBS and ABC declined to comment.

Simon & Schuster reps could not be reached for comment.

Clinton hasn't sat for a wide-ranging network interview since an appearance on Today in 2000.

Battles to land important "gets" for network news programs have become increasingly competitive in recent years. In the past, news executives have accused their rivals of holding high-profile guests "hostage" in the studio to keep them from appearing on competing telecasts.

Other tactics have included agreeing to all sorts of ground rules, especially for high-profile guests, although most news organizations deny that they offer anything in exchange for access.

Some news-makers have even told of certain news organizations chartering private jets and putting guests up in luxury hotels in exchange for their cooperation on a story.