Gawker reports that a potential contract between the infamous White House state dinner “crashers,” Michaele and Tareq Salahi, and Bravo, which is owned by NBC Universal, could have played a role in setting up Matt Lauer‘s exclusive interview this morning on the “Today” show.
The Salahi’s were originally scheduled to appear on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Monday night, but that interview was postponed over the weekend. The AP had reported that the Salahi’s were seeking substantial payment for an interview, but the couple said this morning that they had not been paid to appear, nor did they ever seek payment.
While money might not have changed hands, Gawker looked into some previous “Real Housewives” contracts and potential obligations the couple might have with Bravo:
As applicants to appear on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C., Tareq and Michaele Salahi had signed a contract with the network limiting their television appearances. And according to a booker at a rival network, an NBC staffer has admitted that Bravo prevented the Salahis from giving their initial exclusive interview to anyone other than NBC News, which is under the same NBC Universal corporate umbrella as Bravo.
According to the networks, however, that’s just not true. A spokesperson for Bravo told Gawker claims of that network’s involvement are “categorically false” and NBC News said in a statement, “Bravo had nothing to do with this booking, they were not involved at all. That the Salahis chose to go on the number-one rated morning show should not come as a surprise.” Neither network commented on any contractual obligations that might be in place.
Earlier today, we noticed that Lauer had actually avoided the Bravo topic completely in his interview. NYT’s Brian Stelter, among others, also took note, and reports, “NBC News would not comment on why the Bravo connection was not disclosed.”
• Related: FishbowlDC has the scoop on where the Salahis were for their interview this morning…