The name Larry Garrison probably doesn’t ring many bells to the average TV news viewer, but they have almost certainly seen his handiwork on the air.
As many TV news bookers and producers know, Garrison is one of the industry’s most prominent “fixers,” someone who delivers tabloid stories and interviews to programs looking for some spice… or at least an exclusive.
The Atlantic profiles Garrison, dubbing him “The News Merchant”:
Missing toddlers, murdered coeds, septuplets, serial killers-an endless parade of freaks and victims is marched through the studio sets of Dateline NBC, 20/20, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and countless other shows, all to satisfy viewersâ€™ seemingly insatiable appetite for real-life tears and melodrama. Sometimes network bookers go out hunting for subjects themselves, armed with bouquets of flowers and boxes of tissues and the names of their star anchors (Diane Sawyer, Matt Lauer) as chits. In many cases, though, Garrison gets there first, locks up the rights to the person’s story, and becomes an unavoidable middleman in whatever transactions follow.
News networks and programs all insist they do not pay for interviews with subjects, but as we have written, they often do. Garrison serves as a middleman, becoming the fig leaf that allows them to maintain some semblance of innocence: