IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

CBS denies paying Jackson for interview

Network says fee was payment for previously recorded special
/ Source: The Associated Press

CBS said Wednesday that the network did not pay Michael Jackson to give an interview that was seen by nearly 19 million people on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

The New York Times, quoting a Jackson associate who was not named, said Wednesday that Jackson was paid $1 million to reschedule an entertainment special that had been postponed in November. That payment came on top of a previously negotiated licensing fee for the special, the Times said. The entertainment program, “Michael Jackson Number Ones,” will air Friday.

CBS has said that it would not have aired the entertainment special if Jackson hadn’t addressed the molestation charges against him with its news division.

The Times source said that, “in essence,” CBS paid him for the interview, even though the money came out of the network’s entertainment budget.

But Jack Sussman, CBS vice president for specials, said a fee for Jackson’s participation in the special was negotiated in September and did not change. He would not say how much Jackson was paid.

No additional paymentCharles Koppelman, a former EMI Records executive who negotiated the licensing fee for Jackson in September, also said CBS did not pay anything extra to Jackson when the special was rescheduled for this week.

“The deal I made was the deal we ended up with,” Koppelman said.

CBS executives insisted the network never pays for news interviews and did not in this case, even though Jackson’s special would not have aired — and the pop star wouldn’t have been paid — if the interview hadn’t taken place.

“This was not a package deal,” said Chris Ender, CBS entertainment spokesman. “We licensed a special. Nothing else.”

“60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley, who interviewed Jackson for last Sunday’s broadcast, said he was unaware of any financial arrangements that had been made with the pop star.

“No one ever said anything to me about a quid pro quo,” Bradley said. “No one said anything to me or anyone else at CBS News about money.”

Bradley also said Jackson never discussed a CBS payment with him, either last week or last February, when Bradley went to Jackson’s Neverland estate for an interview that the pop star backed out of.