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April 18, 2014

White House Gatecrashers Shopping Story to Networks: How Will This Play Out?

by Jane Boursaw, posted Nov 29th 2009 8:16PM
Michaele and Tareq Salahi, Whitehouse GatecrashersMichaele and Tareq Salahi, the infamous couple who crashed President Barack Obama's state dinner last Tuesday, are shopping their story to the networks and hoping to nab six figures for the interview. An anonymous television executive told the Associated Press that representatives for the Virginia couple have contacted networks urging them to "get their bids in" for an interview. (The couple has since denied the allegations, but since we live in the age of Heidi and Spencer, it's best to take their word with a grain of salt.)

Is it just us, or is this whole scenario wrong on so many levels? For one thing, network news divisions generally don't pay for interviews, although they've been known to pay for exclusive materials like pictures or videos. So it's not going to look good for whichever network ends up doing the interview.Michaele and Tareq Salahi, Whitehouse GatecrashersMichaele and Tareq Salahi, the infamous couple who crashed President Barack Obama's state dinner last Tuesday, are shopping their story to the networks and hoping to nab six figures for the interview. An anonymous television executive told the Associated Press that representatives for the Virginia couple have contacted networks urging them to "get their bids in" for an interview. (The couple has since denied the allegations, but since we live in the age of Heidi and Spencer, it's best to take their word with a grain of salt.)

Is it just us, or is this whole scenario wrong on so many levels? For one thing, network news divisions generally don't pay for interviews, although they've been known to pay for exclusive materials like pictures or videos. So it's not going to look good for whichever network ends up doing the interview.

Aside from that, it just seems wrong that anyone who's breached a state dinner, sneaking past the Secret Service and putting the President in harm's way, should be paid for an interview. We realize that national security broke down somewhere along the way, but that doesn't negate the fact that this couple should be in jail or at least slapped with a hefty fine.

Then again, the Salahis are reality TV hounds, so anything goes. As we reported last week, they've been trying to land a part on Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of D.C.' In fact, camera crews for Half Yard Productions, which produces 'Housewives,' filmed the couple preparing for the dinner. The Salahis told producers they had been invited to the dinner, and a Bravo spokesperson said they "had no reason to believe otherwise." The couple's attorney, Paul Gardner, has also come to their defense, claiming, "My clients were cleared, by the White House, to be there."

Either way, that two people were able to sneak into the White House is a telling sign that reality TV may have finally gone too far. At time when reality celebs are more ubiquitous than ever (up to 1,000 reality TV "stars" may be on TV at any moment, says the NY Times), the gags are becoming less funny and more dangerous by the day. Just look at the infamous "Balloon Boy" incident, in which a married couple claimed that their 6-year-old son had been carried away in a helium balloon. The story turned out to be a hoax, and the couple now faces a fine -- not to mention jail time. Perhaps it's time for Obama to veto reality TV altogether.

As for their future on 'Real Housewives,' it appears that Bravo hasn't ruled out the Salahis just yet. "The cast of 'The Real Housewives of DC' has not been finalized," a spokesperson for Bravo told AOL TV. "Michaele Salahi is under consideration as a cast member, as such Half Yard Productions (the producers of the series for Bravo) were filming the Salahis. The decision as to who will be included in the series will not be made for several months."

If the 'Housewives' gig falls through, any ideas for what their 16th minute of fame should be? Here are a few of our own:

Lay low: The last thing that TV needs is another Octomom or Jon and Kate Gosselin. The more interviews the Salahis do, the quicker we'll get sick of them. So, why not spend some time out of the spotlight until the dust settles? If the paparazzi becomes a problem, we're sure that Obama can loan them one of his secret service agents.

A self-help reality show: If the Salahis really want to be on TV that badly, then their best bet is to book a show that will reflect positively on their image. We're thinking a "how-to" show, like how to mingle with the rich and famous -- legally, of course.

Community service: Even the rich and mighty have to pay for their crimes somehow. At the very least, a few hundred hours at a soup kitchen or a nursing home would probably do them some good.

Beer summit: Hey, it worked for Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley, so who's to say it wouldn't work for the Salahis as well? As an added incentive, they'll actually be on the guest list this time.

Jail: The Salahis are clearly more in need of a reality check than a reality show, and there's no better way to get one than by spending a couple of years behind bars.

Tell us: What do you think should happen to the Salahis?

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