A Los Angeles-based TV producer is shopping the first interview with Casey Anthony, who was acquitted in July of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony
Sources say, Scott Sternberg Productions have been quietly pitching a no-holds barred interview with Anthony, who has been lying low since being released July 17 after nearly three years in a Florida jail.
Multiple sources say Sternberg is asking between $500,000 and $750,000 to deliver Casey Anthony. According to sources with knowledge of the proposal, networks can choose the interviewer and Scott Sternberg Productions would co-produce the program. But so far, multiple cable networks have declined. Spokespeople for Discovery Communications’ TLC and ID confirmed that the networks have passed on the project. A&E Networks, which includes Lifetime and A&E, also has passed, says a spokesperson.
HLN has not been approached, says a network spokesperson, who adds that the cable news network would not pay for an interview with Anthony anyway. MSNBC has also not been pitched the project. But sources at the NBCUniversal-owned cable channel also say they would not pony up for Anthony, who has become the target of national outrage since her acquittal.
In fact, Anthony’s pariah status has already spurred news divisions to publicly disavow the common and age-old practice of licensing personal photos and home video from interview subjects as a fig leaf to paying outright for interviews. And ABC News, CBS News and NBC News all have stated adamantly that they would not pay for an Anthony interview specifically.
Further complicating matters is that while the interview would likely be a ratings hit, it is not likely to be a moneymaker since it would be difficult to get advertisers to support a program that featured Anthony.
“It will get very good ratings,” admits one cable source. “But who would want to put their ads in that kind of show?”
Sources at MSNBC say that after the network covered July’s verdict, executives there were inundated with thousands of angry e-mails from viewers promising to boycott MSNBC if Anthony were granted a platform.
“The backlash would not be worth it,” says another cable executive.
MSNBC recently became the target of criticism for licensing a British documentary for a reported $500,000 about Dr. Conrad Murray. The license fee came with a pre-verdict interview with Michael Jackson’s former doctor, who was convicted of manslaughter last month.
Executors for Jackson’s estate characterized the documentary as “reprehensible” and urged the network not to air it. It was broadcast as planned Nov. 11 and netted MSNBC a win among cable news competitors in its Friday time slot.