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UPDATED: NBC says 'absolutely no money has changed hands' for exclusive with octuplet mom Nadya Suleman

“Today” co-host Matt Lauer — who twice congratulated Curry for landing the exclusive — pressed her about how the single mother, who has six other children, is going to be able to afford her large family.

“She says that when she finished her schooling, she knows she’ll be able to support them,” Lauer said. “But in the near term, immediately, how are these children going to be cared for in terms of the financial costs that it will take?”

“She’s trying to figure that out,” Curry responded, appearing a bit caught off-guard by the question. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s all, uh, hit her. She’s trying to figure out — she’s worried about how she’s going to be able to pay for all of it. But she believes that even though it’s difficult to accept help, that her family and her friends and her church will step up.”

Left unspoken was the question dogging NBC as it promotes Curry’s interview with Suleman: Was the mother of 14 compensated in any way for the sit-down?

The network — which is making the most of the exclusive, stretching the interview over three days, including a “Dateline” special on Tuesday — maintains that the news division does not pay for interviews and bristled at the suggestion that it secured the interview with money.

"NBC News does not and will not pay for interviews," said "Today" spokeswoman Megan Kopf. "This interview is no exception. Any reports or so-called sources that suggest otherwise are totally wrong."

But in recent days, Suleman’s representatives have said that she has been deluged with offers for her story and wants to use the opportunity to provide for her children. And her family apparently indicated to the networks seeking to interview her that she needs financial help.

According to an executive at a rival media outlet, Suleman’s father made it clear to those asking for the interview that he anticipated it would cost as much as $1.2 million to cover Suleman's expenses. After NBC secured the exclusive, Suleman's father told other media outlets that the network had approached them with "a real proposal," the executive said.

On Thursday, Suleman’s publicist, Michael Furtney, initially said that whether she is being paid is “between her and NBC.” He later said he misspoke and insisted that she was not compensated for the interview.

Kopf said Suleman's father never approached the network for compensation and neither did any of Suleman's representatives.

"Absolutely no money has changed hands between NBC and Suleman or any member of her family," she said. "It's unfortunate that our competitors' sour grapes are so evident."   

While network news divisions have policies that strictly prohibit any payment for interviews, it’s a common practice in the fiercely competitive world of morning television to compensate sources with hotel rooms, first-class plane fare, Broadway show tickets and so-called licensing fees for personal photos and video footage.

The practice came under scrutiny in 2007, when Paris Hilton sought a lucrative payment for the first interview she granted after spending 23 days in L.A. county jails for violating terms of her probation for alcohol-related reckless driving charges.

At the time, ABC executives said they were told by Hilton's family that "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira had won the interview because NBC had offered to pay close to $1 million to license Hilton's personal videos and photos, besting ABC’s offer of $100,000. NBC denied that.

After the negotiations became public, both networks backed out, and Hilton ultimately described her jail experience to Larry King on CNN, which said she was not compensated for the interview.

— Matea Gold and Jessica Garrison

Comments () | Archives (51)

has anyone asked the hospital why a CAMERA crew were allowed into the NICU, when most NICUs do not allow multiple visitors? Or Noise? How much did NBC pay the hospital to allow them to endanger all the babies in the critical care nursery with their stress, noise, and germs??

And someone should tell Octomom that the medical recommendations for NICU workers and parents include NO GIANT FAKE NAILS on people caring for preemie babies. Sure, they're Real Purty and all, but they are harbors for germs that tiny preemies cannot handle.

What is Child Protective Services doing about her children?
Isn't it time to do something?
The more I see her and hear the details the more disgusted I am.
My husband hasn't been following the story, beyond knowing that a woman had octuplets, and that she had 6 already. He watched her on Ann Curry's interview and heard and saw this glorious mess of a human being attempt to explain her "vision". He was sickened by her and her mass child abuse.

Not only is this woman delusional that she will be able to raise these children herself, with no financial assistance. (Sounds good, until she peddles her story.) Her doctor should be held responsible for part of the expense, he was reckless in transferring so many embryos, not to mention, to a single mom who already has 6 other children.
I think the children are in for a scary, sad life.

I feel so sorry for those kids, having such a delusional nutcase for a mother. They didn't ask for this. The doctor belongs in jail and she belongs in a mental ward, and her kids belong in foster or adoptive homes with sane parents.

she needs to be investigated for possible workers comp fraud, possible food stamp fraud, possible SSI fraud, possible federal financial aid fraud, and possible misuse of federal financial aid funds. they need to check and cross reference all her applications for every form of assistance she's ever gotten, see if they're consistent, and based on each kid's birthdate see if what she reported as income and assets at the times of those applications is feasible given what she would have been paying out for IVF at the times those kids were created.

and no I don't think the economy has much if anything to do with the outrage...we were looking for feel-good stories, remember? I work in the liquidation business, so I have no economic worries whatsoever (what's bad for the larger economy benefits me financially because of the business I'm in). And I'm as outraged as anyone.

This I heard from an NBC insider long ago. When the flacks say "NBC news doesn't pay for interviews"...they truly mean that. The NEWS division didn't pay for it. The money paid to the interviewee comes from NBC ENTERTAINMENT!! That way, the News div can say " we didn't pay for the interview...ask them!

I agree that Nadya is dilusional and self absorbed in her own "needs". I also agree with comments calling for Children Services to step in. Even the Health Department would deem this situation totally unexceptable. Where will the 17 members in this household sleep or eat a good meal? What about sanitary conditions??

My major concern in this sad story, is the safety of Nadya's children and, now, her new babies. If she believes God has blessed her with these many children she has always dreamed of.... she may be one of those moms to believe God has told her to get rid of them, when she goes off the deep end!! The protective services MUST step in now, and not allow these babies to go home with the mother. Signed.... a Very concerned citizen!!

The State of California has a duty to protect these vulnerable children. CPS should have custody before the sun sets. This woman is the epitome of recklessness, a pathological liar and scam artist! She has no business messing up the lives of these innocent children. And as for her degree in counseling? What a joke! Who would accept the counsel of a depressed, mentally ill counselor?

I urge all taxpaying citizens to boycott any entity who assists and enables this lying scam artist! Any funds that she scams from the public should go to pay the medical bills of these children. The taxpayers of California shouldn't have to pay for her lifestyle. She even scammed the church that she supposedly attended! Wait until these children are grown and in the penal system. They are at risk for all sorts of social ills. You will all pay to incarcerate them, or treat their mental illnesses from being raised by such a train wreck of a mother! Take custody now, CPS! Find loving homes for these fragile children!

Well I hope that it is true that Today did not pay for the interviews. I personally have sent emails to various media outlets asking that they do not pay her for interviews. I'm sure she is cashing in on all of the interviews and media attention she is getting, and this woman is a prime example of so many things that are wrong with this country.

She in no way contributes to society. I'm sorry but living off student loans and disability does not pay any money into the system that is basically paying her way through life. she acted in a selfish manner, there are people out there desperate for 1 baby. I can see people who are trying for 1 or even a 2nd child with infertility treatments, and surprise surprise you have multiples! But any normal person would stop after that and be thankful for what they have. Especially the fact that she has 3 with disabilities, and these new babies have a high risk of having medical issues as well. (God forbid, but a strong possibility). I have 2 kids, my son is severely autistic and I have often thought of having another child to help shoulder some of the responsibility my daughter will likely have after I am gone. But why run the risk of having another child with developmental disabilities and burden her even further? And another thought about disability, I am on a wait list that is 5 years long to get services from the state for my son. 5 YEARS!!!! I work my tail off to make ends meet. Assistance would be nice, but I've always been take responsibility for my life and not wait around for someone else to fix my problems. It is the card I was dealt and I am fine with it, I'll do what needs to be done. But stories like this where people have flat out taken advantage of a system that is supposed to be help people who need it makes me sick. And she will probably come out with millions in the end.

Here's the latest on Octomoron...I mean mom.

1. She's on food stamps, paid by taxpayers, of which she is not one... yet she doesn't find this to be welfare.

2. She has 3 disabled children, she is disabled, yet she chose to have more babies, some of which, it is believed, will have disabilities. A neighbor had one child, who happens to be autistic, she's married and both work good jobs... and they have a hard time with their ONE kid. She has THREE disabled children, possibly more now... and she's disabled, single, no child support, no baby daddy and no job.

3. A Rep for Angelina Jolie has stated Octo-mom has sent her numerous fan letters, and that Jolie is a bit creeped out by Octo-mom and worries for the children.

4. She had a wider nose and thinner lips when she was first on television about infertility problems with one of her first 6 kids. Now her nose is identical to Jolie and her lips have been badly plumpened to look like Jolie's. She's not stable I tell ya!

5. What is she doing with those donations she's collecting on her website? She was recently videotaped shopping for a nintendo Wii (Almost $300) and video games (Which are $50 a pop, new.) Doesn't she have a few million dollars to pay the hospital for her 8 babies?

This woman is insane, her kids need to be removed, she needs to be admitted to a psychiatric ward, and people who actually send her money need to be evaluated themselves. People have been saying. "The kids shouldn't suffer because of her irresponsibility... so I'm going to send some support."

yeah, video games really supports kids don't they?

this is a selfish woman. "I wanted kids", "These embryos were MINE and I was going to use them!", "I want 2.1 million dollars for interviews." "I was lonely", "I felt deprived as an only child." I, I, I, Me, Me, Me. What a nutcase.

And there are so many MARRIED women with JOBS that could have used donated eggs to have children of their own. Selfish witch.

Absolutely NO network or publication should provide compensation for stories such as Nadya Suleman's, or those of others who have committed any act of immorality or crime! We are seeing the same effect with the case of Casey Anthony, who 'allegedly' sells photos and videos of her murdered daughter...it is both disheartening and heinous!

We, as Americans, need to stand up and say 'enough is enough!' Stop watching the programs and buying the publications that pay these people!

There are so many couples in this world who are unable to conceive, even with assisted fertility methods, yet Nadya Suleman is asking for our donations to raise her 14 children! My heart goes out to all of her children...it is unfortunate, to say the least, that these children will pay the ultimate price for her selfishness, yet I cannot find within myself the need to donate money to her. This was a premeditated act...she didn't get pregnant 'by accident,' and if you can't afford to take care of children, you ultimately shouldn't have 14 of them! Of course, it's becoming a typical mindset in our society...somebody else will foot the bill, and when something goes wrong, it will always be somebody else's fault.

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