At the NATPE conference in Miami Beach, FishbowlLA spoke with Barry Levine, the executive editor of the National Enquirer, the gossip rag that always gets flak, even when it breaks major scoops, such as the John Edwards lovechild scandal, or Tiger Woods‘ mistresses.
The Enquirer is here to pitch a TV show concept, not a TMZ-like program, but a behind-the-scenes look at how the sausage gets made at the paper. Yes, that includes the nasty bits, like checkbook journalism, and sneaking into hotel rooms to grab some DNA samples.
“If it wasn’t for us there wouldn’t be TMZ, there wouldn’t be Entertainment Tonight, and I think after the last couple of years, the new credibility we have established after John Edwards, and the Tiger Woods scandal after that, we have had so much media interest and interest from readers and the question is always ‘how does the Enquirer get those stories?’”
If the show gets picked up, either by a network or in syndication, a camera crew would follow six or so of the Enquirer‘s journalists, chronicling them as they try to talk to subjects and sources, conduct lie detector and DNA tests, and break the news. Topics would include celebrity gossip, political stories, crime, pop culture, human interest and whatever else the network is interested in seeing more of.
“The public will see how everything is done,” Levine said. “Seeing how the news is put together can sometimes be more interesting than the news itself.”