February 6, 2009

More Sully-Mania: Katie Couric in hero pilot’s Danville kitchen and on CBS Early Show in morning TV ratings smackdown

CBS will devote most of its Early Show this coming Monday to the heroic tale of Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed his disabled US Airways jet in the Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 crew members and passengers, the Huffington Post says.

Besides talking to Sully and other crew members, The Early Show will also talk to rescuers and survivors. Sully is also scheduled to appear on ABC's Good Morning America on Monday morning.

Actually, CBS and Couric are really milking their interview coup with Sully. He’ll be on CBS 60 Minutes with Couric Sunday night. You can watch a teaser to that here.

This Early Show Sully move is seen as a direct attack on the mighty Today show (Couric’s old stomping grounds) and its host Matt Lauer, Couric’s former partner. If you’ll remember, Lauer was originally scheduled to land the first exclusive interview with Sully, before Sully or his people backed out and went to Couric and CBS.

But Today show is striking back, with Ann Curry’s exclusive interview with that Southern California woman who—ewww—recently gave birth to octuplets.

As the Huffington Post says, it’s “the hero pilot vs. the tired mom.” Which interview will draw more viewers? Actually, the “tired mom” has touched off a hot debate about the ethics of when and how doctors use in vitro fertilization because Octuplets Mom is a single woman, who already had six kids before giving birth to these eight.

And what’s also weird, besides Octuplets Mom, is how Sully, a much-proclaimed humble, small town man, has wound up in the midst of this battle of the networks and the network stars.

And, as I asked earlier, is Sully-mania on the verge of “jumping the shark”? Has it already?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, he's jumped the shark.

Mom's Exhausted said...

Well, I read in the CC Times the other day. Sully asked for a waiver of library fees on a book that was lost when the plane went down.

Question: Doesn't Sully receive compensation for the interviews he's giving? Couldn't he afford to donate something to worthy causes? The library is one of the most worthy causes. Especially a library in a lesser affluent area than Danville.

It may have been a "cute" story, for the librarian to waive the fees on the book...but I just hope Sully turns that around and does something charitable with the little story.

I'll wait and see!

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Mom's Exhausted,
News organizations like CBS and ABC don't pay for interviews, nor do news print publications. I say this as a journalist for print and magazines.

Yeah, the Enquirer and other celebrity, tabloid-esque publications pay for interviews, and People magazine has famously paid for first rights to photos of, say, the Pitt-Jolie kids. I remember that Vanity Fair proudly proclaimed that it DIDN'T pay Tom Cruise and pod-Katie for first dibs on photos of Suri.

Long answer short: I don't think Sully's getting paid for these interviews. Certainly not for his interview with "60 Minutes," that bastion of TV journalism.

But, it's all great publicity for the future book or movie deal or whatever.

I think his "media advisors" kind of blew it when they dissed Matt Lauer in favor of Katie Couric. To me, it made Sullenberger look a bit opportunistic, which is probably not the case.

Mom's exhausted said...

Soccer Mom,
Thank you for answering my question. I had no idea. The article in the CCTimes was vague about the library book incident.

When a publicist was hired, that is what made me think there was money involved. Publicity for the book deal makes perfect sense though. I wouldn't have thought of that either.

Thanks, again.

Anonymous said...

Everyone describes this pilot as humble, but he and his wife sure do seem to be enjoying the spotlight and playing the networks against each other.

Anonymous said...

We don't know much about Sully and his motivations. It's Soccer Mom who's having fun with conjecture: making it sound like, hinting he's working the media for his benefit.
She says she's a print journalist. Her gosspiy "not just the fact's ma'am" is what gives real journalism a bad name...
Oh, she's clearly having (small-town) fun. . .

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Anon. 11:29:
Yes, I am having fun with this media circus story. I've been a part of the circus myself, and it gives you a warped sense of perspective. The battle between NBC and CBS is just so silly, but I also understand how it's come about and come to this.

As far as Sully and his motivations, you're right, who knows what they are? Maybe he's just giving in because he knows the reporters and cameras won't go away until he talks and tells his story. I attended the celebration in Danville for him, and talked to a lot of people who knew him and his family, and they all say he's a wonderful, modest man of the highest integrity.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if his story will wind up as a book or a movie. It is, as they say in the news biz, a great story. It's also probably one that we, as a nation, need right now.