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Posts Tagged ‘Caylee Anthony’

ABC News Pays For Family’s Plane Tickets

Hoax_5.29.jpgABC News is once again under fire for financially accommodating a news source — in this case paying for plane tickets to and from Florida.

Philly.com reports ABC paid for a coach class ticket for Anthony Rakoczy to Florida to claim his daughter Julia. The network also paid for two tickets for their return. An ABC News producer and crew accompanied Rakoczy on both legs.

In what was part of an elaborate hoax, Julia Rakoczy was taken to Disney World by her mother Bonnie Sweeten. Sweeten was in a Florida court this morning where she waived extradition and could be headed back to Philadelphia today.

The payment for the flight was disclosed on Nightline last night and on Good Morning America this morning. The shows also labeled the reunion with family back in Pennsylvania as “Exclusive.” According to ABC, Rakoczy chose to avoid other reporters because he felt overwhelmed by the crush of interview requests, not because he was paid to avoid them.

An ABC News spokesman denied this was a quid-pro-quo arrangement and told the Philly News, “ABC News does not pay for interviews.”

A similar situation happened in December when ABC News paid for a three-night hotel stay at a Central Florida Ritz-Carlton for the grandparents of murdered toddler Caylee Anthony. In that case, ABC did not get an interview with the Anthonys.


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ABC News Pays For Anthonys’ Stay at Ritz-Carlton

Anthonys_2.19.jpgNewly released court documents reveal ABC News paid for a three-night hotel stay at a Central Florida Ritz-Carlton for the grandparents of murdered toddler Caylee Anthony.

George Anthony and Cindy Anthony stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes from Dec. 11 to 14 &mdash in the days after Caylee’s remains were found near their home.

The Orlando Sentinel was first to report the story after a judge overseeing the case released an 80-page transcript which included the new details.

An ABC producer named Kaitlyn Folmer made arrangements with then-Anthony spokeswoman Michelle Bart to put up the couple and two of their investigators at the hotel. Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton run from $249 to $739 per night.

An ABC insider tells TVNewser the pricey hotel was picked because it had the best security. And with a horde of media trying to secure an interview with the Anthonys, ABC was simply being competitive. As it turns out, ABC did not get an interview that week, nor have they since.

Ritz_2.19.bmpDuring the first night of the stay, the Anthonys also dined at a restaurant inside the hotel. The ABC producer, Folmer, was also at the dinner. But it’s not known who paid. The ABC insider tells us, taking interview subjects out to dinner “is not a problem.”

The details were part of an interview the Anthony’s private investigator Dominic Casey gave to an Orange County Sergeant and an FBI Agent in early January.

Grace’s Anthony Special Brings Record Emailers

grace_2-11.jpgIn what was a major step in the conclusion of the Caylee Anthony story, a memorial tribute was held yesterday in Florida, and HLN’s Nancy Grace anchored live. In addition to her 8pmET broadcast, she hosted for 30 minutes at NoonET and again at 4:30pmET.

We’re told yesterday brought the most emails ever for Grace, with 1,928 (normally she averages around 500). The majority of the messages were to thank her for her memorial coverage.

No cable news personality has been more closely associated with the Anthony story than Grace, and her ratings have reflected the developments in the case.

Nancy Grace Just Misses Demo Victory

grace_12-29.jpgWe received a tip over the weekend asking if Nancy Grace‘s strong December was going to propel her to a victory in the A25-54 demo over the usual winner, The O’Reilly Factor.

After running the numbers, our unofficial tally puts Grace’s 8pmET average at 590,000 and Bill O’Reilly‘s at 609,000 (through December 23). Countdown with Keith Olbermann is expected to come in third and Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull will come in fourth in the time slot.

This follows record ratings for Grace’s program following the discovery of Caylee Anthony‘s remains. From the day that news broke, Grace’s program finished first in the demo every night.

We’ll have more on the December and full year ratings tomorrow.

The Ticker: Biden, Aniston, Young…

> Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be on Larry King Live on Monday. Today, King discusses the news that the remains found in Florida have been identified as Caylee Anthony‘s.

> The Early Show anchor Harry Smith likes him some Jennifer Aniston: “Alright, baby…you look great, I just, it…mmm…bears mentioning.” Check out the video from this morning.

> SVP for news at Hearst-Argyle Television Fred Young will receive the 2009 Paul White Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association on April 20. Young retires later this month, and is the first Paul White honoree since 1984 who has spent his career working exclusively in local news.

Dateline Tops 20/20 on Friday

NBC’s Dateline and ABC’s 20/20 went head-to-head on Friday, and NBC came out on top.

Dateline averaged 7,087,000 Total Viewers, compared to 5,799,000 for 20/20. In the A25-54 demo rating, Dateline had a 2.7 and 20/20 a 2.1.

It was the largest Total Viewer audience for Dateline Friday since April 18.

Dateline spent the entire hour on the Caylee Anthony investigation, while 20/20 spent the first 20 minutes of the program devoted to the story.

Nancy Grace’s Best Ratings Ever

grace_12-12.jpgNancy Grace” saw its best ratings ever last night while covering a potential major break in the Caylee Anthony case, and Headline News topped all cable news networks in the A25-54 demo during prime time.

Grace’s 1,003,000 in the demo and 2,375,000 Total Viewers far surpassed her previous day’s high, on October 14, when she had 636,000 in the demo and 1,566,000 Total Viewers.

Jane Velez-Mitchell‘s “Issues” at 7pmET topped any Glenn Beck broadcast ever as well.

HLN had the top rated program in the demo at 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10pmET, meaning Grace’s repeat at 10pmET won as well.

This is the 2nd time ever since the launch of Headline Prime that the network won demo prime time. On the other CNN network, the two-hour premiere of “Planet in Peril” brought the network a fourth place finish in the demo prime time.

Nancy Grace Sees Huge Overnight Rating After Caylee News

In the wake of the potential major break in the Caylee Anthony investigation, Headline News’ Nancy Grace saw huge numbers at 8pmET, according to overnight household ratings obtained by TVNewser.

At 8pmET, FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor had a 2.3 overnight rating, HLN’s Grace had a 1.6, MSNBC’s Countdown had a 1.3 and CNN’s Campbell Brown had a .8.

The overnight numbers are based on 52 metered markets. The actual ratings will be released sometime around 4pmET today.

Cablers Cover Potential Break in Caylee Anthony Case

Just after 11:45amET, the cablers began covering what may be a major break in the Caylee Anthony investigation — the remains of a child found near the home of Casey Anthony. On CNN, all-platform journalist John Couwels began reporting on the matter. On FNC, Geraldo Rivera was on the air quickly, while Dr. Michael Baden called in for a phoner. MSNBC simulcast its affiliate coverage on WESH. Also, TVNewser has learned Larry King Live has lined up an exclusive interview with George and Cindy Anthony tomorrow night.

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> Update: As requested by several tipsters, here is a screengrab of Headline News, also covering the news today:

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The Ticker: FNC, ABC, NBC…

> With the story that keeps on giving for the news networks, FNC tallied its highest prime time Total Viewer average since November 19 last night and highest in the A25-54 demo since November 12 while reporting the Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrest. FNC had more Total Viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time.

> Today’s ABC World News webcast at 3pmET produced a story that made it to the actual broadcast tonight at 6:30pm. Ned Potter‘s “Google Zeitgeist” report will be expanded and air on the TV broadcast.

> Dateline NBC’s Dennis Murphy reports on the Caylee Anthony case on Friday at 10pm. Cindy and George Anthony, the grandparents of the missing girl, are interviewed.

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