NEW YORK – NBC News is denying reports that it has offered as much as $1 million for the first interview with Paris Hilton after her release from jail next week.
"We don't pay for interviews and we'll never pay for interviews, and I have no interview to confirm," NBC News spokeswoman Allison Gollust said Thursday night.
She did acknowledge the "common practice" of licensing pictures and video, but "I've never seen a deal like that for this kind of money."
The accusation arose from the ranks of ABC News, as first reported Thursday by the New York Post.
ABC had agreed to potentially pay up to $100,000 to the Hilton family for the interview as well as access to videos of Hilton and other material, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But ABC was outflanked by an "astronomical" offer from NBC, the person said, citing information gained from the Hilton family.
Thursday night, Paris Hilton spokesman Elliot Mintz said, "I can't comment because I really and truly don't know."
He indicated he wouldn't necessarily be told if negotiations were ongoing.
The interview would apparently be targeted for NBC News' "Today" show, which has a fierce rivalry for high-profile "gets" with its ratings runner-up, ABC News' "Good Morning America."
Although network news divisions officially don't pay for interviews, the ban can be sidestepped in various ways, including shifting the negotiations to a network's entertainment division, which observes no such prohibitions.
Recently, NBC landed an exclusive interview with Britain's Princes William and Harry, which, conducted by Matt Lauer, aired Monday as an edition of "Dateline NBC." NBC also reportedly paid a fee in the low seven figures for American rights to air a concert next month in honor of their late mother, Diana, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.