If you hadn’t heard about the story of Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend–by the way, congratulations–he finally had a televised sit-down interview with Katie Couric for her daytime talk show. Many speculated and suggested that Oprah Winfrey should be the one to interview him, but somehow Couric landed the coveted sit-down. So how did she do it?
Matthew Hiltzik, a crisis management expert who is currently representing Te’o, has also worked with Couric for seven and a half years. Sources say this wasn’t the deciding factor, but that the audience reach from Couric’s employer ABCNews and it’s parent company Walt Disney Co. made her the best candidate. Also, the media hype of Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong may have hurt her. Personally I would have loved to see the winces and side eyes she would have given him, and I can’t help but think that Katie’s lax interviewing style played a part in this as well.
The interview was taped on Tuesday, and Te’o’s mother Ottilio said she felt like Katie was someone “I could trust with our story.” Te’o has only spoken out about this once before to ESPN, another network owned by Disney.
During the interview Te’o admits that he briefly lied to the media about the existence of his supposed girlfriend, even after he had learned that she never existed.
Deadspin broke the story earlier this month that Manti’s girlfriend Lennay Kekuka, who supposedly died from Leukemia on September 12 last year, was not a real person. On December 6, he learned that the hoax was perpetrated by RonaiahTuiasosopo, who used pictures of a classmate to represent Lennay,but mentioned his girlfriend while discussing his placement as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
“Put yourself in my situation.My whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12. Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”
Not dig yourself into a deeper hole, Manti? I believed the guy was lied to from the beginning, and it’s obvious that he couldn’t deal with the situation because everyone jumped to calling him stupid and asking how he could have had this relationship with a girl he never met. Was he trying to cover up something, was he in on it or trying to gain sympathy to get the Heisman? I think this Roniah guy needs to be answering questions, but of course he’s in hiding, so Te’o has to go out there and defend himself.
You can watch Katie’s interview with him Thursday on ABC. IF you must.
We’ve already established that DivaJuliawants no part of Katie Couric, or her show. I’ve decided to mostly leave it, but did tune in today to catch her interview with Demi Lovato. My tween daughter makes sure I stay up to date with the current and recently graduated Disney & Nickelodeon stars, so I have been following Demi’sups and downs.
Katie starts with a revelation of her own, she battled bulimia as a young woman in college into her mid 20’s. No details were given and the brief segment was filmed in the control room prior to Demi’s arrival on the main set.
Sporting blue ombre hair and cute hot pink blazer, Demi narrates her tale of life growing up in Hollywood. She believes that environment and genes gave her a predisposition to having an eating disorder, that her career as a child star exacerbated. At one point Katie compares the media scrutiny she is subject to with the microscope Demi underwent as as pubescent actress. Any empathy I may have felt during Katie’s introductory “confession” is out the window with that display of WTFery.
The hour is dedicated to disordered eating, so there aren’t any awkward tonal changes as we switch to fall fashions or the like. Whether it was on advice from her management or a sincere commitment to end body dysmorphia and bullying, Demi lends subsequent guests support from the audience with some knowing nods.
Sarcasm aside, I wish her continued good health and success. Reporting on Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes are keeping folks busy enough.
F. Scott Fitzgerald had it wrong about Americans not having a “second act”, and Ricki Lake and KatieCouric are back on our televisions to prove it.
I don’t think it necessary to give a rundown of the first incarnation of either host. But I will cop to having “feelings” for Ricki Lake because of her advocacy in the world of pregnancy and childbirth. Having set up a birthing tub before The Business of Being Born was produced, I’m thankful that her film company brought the discussion of home birth to the masses.
So now you know I am square in the bulls-eye of the shows demographic. A set with accents in every shade of purple imaginable underscores this point, as I wait in vain for Breaking Bad’s Marie to join the self help on the couch. Ricki, clad in black mini and tall boots, (an outfit I’m sure was focus grouped to death) exudes confidence and the all important relatability.
The first guest is a 40-something mother (of course!) with the tried and true problem of giving too much to those around her. Throw in a callous ex husband who leaves a note asking to dissolve their marriage and you have tears in under 5 minutes. However, “pluck” is the word of the day and our scrappy would be heroine smiles bravely; declares she’s ready for change, because she is worth it. There was no immediate L’Oreal product placement as this is a kinder, gentler, version of Ricki’s old show. Instead a licensed therapist helps with the emotional obstacles that are keeping our guest from being all that she can be. But never fear, the tried and true has not been totally abandoned and our divorcee is whisked away for a make over.
The rest of the show proceeded in a pretty shop worn vein. A matchmaker and Clean House’s Yard Sale Diva were trotted out to help one guest conquer the dating scene, another their unruly closet. Whether Ricki is talking about her own divorce and subsequent remarriage or fielding questions from the audience, her easy camaraderie with the format is on display. Pleasantly surprised that the matchmaker gently chided Ricki when she tossed out a bit of slut shaming, the overriding tone of the is lots of hand holding with the occasional squeeze for emphasis.
Unfortunately a rushed ending had Ricki travel unconvincingly in “stars are just like us” territory: She has hangers from Costco and steams her own clothes! With credits rolling while folks were in mid sentence, what had been a decently timed product devolved into a Next Food Network Star demo.
The everyday people vibe is out the door from the opening scene ofKatie Nope-No-Last-Name-Needed Couric’s return to daytime TV. A “dream sequence” finds Katie prattling on to an unseen form in a twin bed alongside hers. Up pops none other than Matt Lauer. If tabloids are to be believed, he is no stranger to waking up next to women who are not his wife, but we are supposed to find this quaint and nostalgic.
Katie betters Ricki’s tear factor by 4 minutes because she’s out of the blocks with a family picture of her deceased husband and kids. Along with a quick joke about having to remember to shave her legs, it establishes the push/pull, gravitas followed by fluff formula that will ensue. Announcing that she is 55, with George Clooney on a back screen, and a Sheryl Crow song let me know that Katie is a safe zone for pilates and Chicos devotees.
I have purposely not listened to Jessica Simpson utter one word since her MTV days. Ending this boycott I gathered The Expected: OMG MOTHERHOOD IS EVERYTHING spiel. The Unexpected, Joe Simpson thinks her fiancee is the best Dad, even better than him. Very low bar considering most fathers do not comment on their daughter’s breasts for GQ, but whatever. And The Joyous, Dolly Parton!!!
Jessica’s baby weight loss struggle gives way to Sheryl Crow. Interview highlights include footage of Crow when she was MichaelJackson’s back up singer, Katie happily supplying the adjective “perky” when Sheryl talks about trying to describe her in song and does touch the third rail that is Lance Armstrong. Crow says they are not currently in touch and that he worked very hard in his sport. She does NOT say she never saw him do steroids or that she believes he is innocent, make of that what you will. More OMG MOTHERHOOD IS EVERYTHING, with the added bonus that Sheryl’s boys aged 5 and 2 keep her in shape. Hear that housewives of America? It’s not personal chefs, trainers or state of the art equipment but just plain old motherhood that keeps Sheryl in such great shape. Honestly, it was an off hand comment that wouldn’t register if it wasn’t the refrain from just about every celebrity mother. The air of nostalgia comes around again bringing things to a close as Katie and some childhood friends who are in the audience recreate a snapshot of themselves from Junior High.
With flattering lighting, chic makeup and wardrobe Katie and her show are sleek, well calibrated vehicle. One that I personally have no interest in driving. The highly polished ending had a great split screen showing upcoming guests. Seeing Wendy Williams, a definite must in my love to hate category since her HOT 97FM radio days, was as excited as I got watching Katie for an hour. Woo Woo.
[Editor’s Note: I, DivaJulia hate Katie Couric like poison. Sorry for the interruption, but I couldn’t hold it in one second longer. ]