Paula Broadwell Pitched Self as Military Expert to Networks Before Scandal Broke

Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley Report - P 2012

Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley Report - P 2012

During appearances to promote her David Petraeus biography, the author angled unsuccessfully for a regular TV presence -- but, according to a network source: "Something seemed off. She was creepy."

This story first appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The race is on to land an interview with Paula Broadwell, the author and Army reservist whose relationship with former CIA chief David Petraeus caused his downfall, and Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite whose complaints to the FBI launched the scandal.

So far, TV news bookers tell THR, all three principals are on lockdown. "It's radio silence," complains one morning show producer.

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Broadwell, 40, has hired Dee Dee Myers, media pundit and former President Clinton press secretary, while Kelley, 37, has retained crisis manager Judy Smith, who most famously repped Monica Lewinsky.

Petraeus, 60, is now working with Washington lawyer Robert Barnett. Reputation doctors say the trio still might face legal jeopardy and must proceed with caution in fielding media requests or reality show offers.

"You don't want to dig yourself into a deeper hole by doing an interview," says Chris Lehane, a lawyer and communications expert who has worked with Lance Armstrong and Madonna. "It's one thing to go on TV, it's another thing to effectively communicate on TV. Most people can't do it."

Broadwell has become hunted prey since she returned to her Charlotte, N.C., home Nov. 18 and was greeted by a phalanx of TV cameras. She hit an AP photographer in the head with the door of her SUV.

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That Broadwell is now being pursued by the media is somewhat ironic: During TV appearances in January for her Petraeus biography All In -- which Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi described as "slobberific" -- Broadwell was angling for a contributor perch as a military expert. There were no takers. As one network source puts it: "Something seemed off. She was creepy."