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Variety’s Michael Learmonth delves into the murky underworld of celebrity interviews, specifically Paris Hilton’s unpaid path to Larry King. Looks like mastermind Kathy Hilton, acting on expensive bad advice from Michael Sitrick, sought to start a bidding war between Barbara Walters and anyone, everyone else. Needless to say, the plan backfired.

ABC News wouldn’t have actually paid for the interview, as that would be wrong. Instead, the show “licenses” photos, home videos, and any other junk the celeb has lying around–Steve Irwin’s widow got such a deal.

As former GMA producer Lisa Sharkey (so aptly named for a morning show booker) said about the Hilton deal gone wrong:

It may change the ability of celebrities to profit from their mistakes.

And we wouldn’t want that.