NBC News Production Unit Paid Reeva Steenkamp Family 'Modest' Fee
As the sensational Oscar Pistorius murder trial gets into full swing, NBC distanced itself from competitors on Tuesday with the airing of a Today show interview with the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, the Olympic athlete's slain girlfriend.
A day later, it emerged that the Steenkamp family had been paid by NBC News production unit Peacock Productions UK.
"Peacock Productions UK is making three separate documentaries about the Steenkamp family for various outside clients. As is normal, they have paid a very modest licensing fee for materials they will access," said Ali Zelenko, senior vp communications at NBC News, in a statement.
The Washington Post first reported the news on Wednesday, which The Hollywood Reporter confirmed.
NBC's Peacock Productions UK recently produced a nonfiction special on Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas that aired on Lifetime in early February and a special on Amanda Knox that aired later in the month on BBC Three.
On Tuesday, NBC's Today show aired an exclusive interview with June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, interviewed by anchor Savannah Guthrie. "I've heard that you and your husband have kind of tried to avoid some of the press reporting on this case," Guthrie prefaced in the interview.
The Today segment was billed as the "first live interview since the start of Pistorius' trial in South Africa," which got underway on Monday to intense scrutiny from media outlets worldwide.
ABC News bookers had also been looking for an exclusive with the Steenkamp family, though the network said it declined to pay.
"We requested an interview with the family, they requested payment and we politely turned that opportunity down," said Heather Riley, senior public relations director at ABC News. In 2011, the network announced that it had ended its policy of paying interview subjects.