He's no reporter, but don't question Leo's looks

An ABC News Memorandum

April 15, 2000|By Rob Hiaasen

From: ABC News President David Westin To: Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, Peter Jennings

Subject: Leonardo DiCaprio's interview with President Clinton for ABC News' Earth Day Special, airing April 22.


I understand you are all concerned about our decision to air excerpts of Mr. DiCaprio's interview at the White House with President Clinton. I need to "set the record straight" regarding our commitment to news and to the public.

Mr. DiCaprio is not only the celebrity chairman of this year's Earth Day (previous distinguished recipients include Barry "Greg Brady" Williams), he is also a thoughtful, intelligent, young man with a strong environmental conscience (he has never once been photographed littering).

He is also a hottie. Peter, you are sort of a hottie -- in a dry Canadian kind of way. Ted, while we continue to value your work on "Nightline," you are no more a hottie than Alfred E. Newman. And Sam, you still scare us a little.

None of you have any reason to feel threatened because Mr. DiCaprio was allowed to act in the role of journalist. None of you, if I may be blunt, have a patent on interviewing. And, again, none of you are bona fide hotties. (Stone Phillips is another matter and, regrettably, on another network.)

In fact, Mr. DiCaprio's presidential interview will be the first in a series of "extra special" interviews to be broadcast this year. Be assured that as ABC's finest journalists, you will all be involved every step of the way.

Here is the lineup we anticipate:

Ted Koppel interview with Leonardo DiCaprio re: his interview with President Clinton.

Britney Spears interview with Hillary Clinton (Jennings to moderate).

Wrestler/author Mankind interview with Vice President Al Gore (Donaldson to referee).

Mike Tyson interview with Bill Gates.

Note: We are also in current negotiations with the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez for an ABC exclusive interview to be conducted by the young actor in "The Sixth Sense." (Just a head's up, Sam -- we'll need you to run down that kid's agent for us.)

People, it's the dawn of a new media age. And the age is 18-24.

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