Katie Couric admitted she had a well-placed, personal connection who helped her land her big interview with Manti Te’o.
It was her New York-based publicist, who’s also an expert on celebrity crisis-management who just happened to have recently landed the troubled Notre Dame football star as a client. Couric didn’t mention the publicist by name when she explained how the interview came to be when she appeared Thursday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in Los Angeles.
“[Manti's] parents had apparently watched me,” she said at first, when Kimmel asked her how she booked the interview everyone in TV news was after. Couric’s interview aired last week, and made headlines all over the country.
But she also admitted: “Luckily, the fellow who was helping him with crisis-management issues also helps me,” she said, referring to high-powered publicist Matthew Hiltzik, who has long been Couric’s personal press rep.
“I wasn’t in a crisis,” Couric emphasized. “He just sort of helps me in general.” She said the publicist and the football player were seeking a “long-form” talk show where Te’o could tell his story in full. “The story, as you know, is so ridiculously complicated with so many twists and turns that actually I think you really needed a longer format to get through everything that had happened to this guy,” Couric told Kimmel.
Te’o, of course, is the football star who formed an on-line relationship with a “woman” who turned out to be fake, although Te’o believed she was real, up to and including her “death” from leukemia. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a hoax — one that went way too far.
The connection between Te’o and Couric — via the publicist — was widely reported last week. On the “Kimmel” show, Couric portrayed the serendipitous way she landed the interview as exactly what it was — a stroke of luck (or perhaps a coincidence) that her rep happened to be repping Te’o too. (Our take on that: Hey, sometimes interviews happen that way, by someone knowing someone else. It’s no crime.)
Kimmel asked Couric about other interviews she’s wanted, but never got a chance to do. And she said one such subject was Michael Jackson, who she met, but did not interview. Jackson certainly liked her, though, because he raised the possibility of dating her – at least that was Katie’s story and she’s stickin’ to it!
Speaking of Katie Couric’s dating history, she told an amazing story about a date she once had with Larry King, when she was a young 30-year-old journalist in Washington and he was already a major TV star (and considerably older than she). She told Kimmel that King maneuvered her back to his apartment, where he “lunged” at her. “The whole situation was like [something] out of a bad Lifetime movie!” she said.