It was pretty clear this week that Oprah is the person to go to for blockbuster interviews, but don't tell that to Manti Te'o. It's not surprising that a guy who maintained a relationship without ever meeting his partner would buck conventional wisdom. The New York Times' Brian Stelter reports Te'o rebuffed offers from Oprah's people and instead choose to grant his first on camera interview to ABC's Katie Couric. The interview will air on her talk show Thursday, but excerpts will air early on Good Morning America. (By 'excerpts' we suspect they mean 'the good parts.') Te'o spoke with ESPN's Jeremy Schapp on Friday evening, but his representatives insisted the interview take place off camera.
Couric's scoop isn't actually about rejecting Oprah, or anything nearly as interesting as that. It's about some uncomfortable potentially conflict-of-interest-y agent synergy. As Deadspin's John Koblin pointed out, the Te'o family recently hired Matthew Hiltzik to be their spokesperson through the scandal. Hiltzik is Couric's longtime spokesperson, too. Deadspin is decidedly unimpressed.
It should also be noted that once Te'o gives his first interview to Couric, he'll have only spoken to people under the ABC-ESPN umbrella since the scandal broke. ESPN and ABC are owned by the same parent company. Keep it in house, y'all.
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