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MORNING REPORT

First Off . . .

July 22, 1988| Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Should a star be willing to forgo three minutes of fame on the "Today" show for an interview on a new syndicated program and a chance for a write-up in America's youngest national newspaper? Celebrities who agree to an exclusive interview on the coming TV magazine show "USA Today" (spun off of the newspaper) may not appear on other magazine shows, but they may be featured in the national newspaper, according to GTG Entertainment, which is producing the new show. The exclusive offer, however, has angered some leading public relations firms who say the deal promises much, but guarantees nothing. Exclusivity with the "USA Today" show would mean celebrities would have to pass on such shows as "Entertainment Tonight" and the network morning programs. Said PR veteran Lee Solters: "The problem is (we're) wondering if that (double coverage) is really possible. Many don't think it is, and because (that's) so, why would they risk losing other reliable publicity to some show that's right out of the box?" Other PR officials say Steve Friedman, president of GTG Entertainment/East and executive producer of the new show, announced that famous guests who agree to exclusivity would be covered in both the newspaper and the show because the two are "editorially linked." But a spokesman for GTG's Friedman, Bill McAndrew, said the double-dip isn't necessarily so. "We obviously can't promise both (media) to everyone. I don't know how (PR executives) could have thought otherwise," McAndrew said. They might have thought otherwise because of the Friedman letter, which stated: "You can have the TV show Tuesday night and the newspaper Wednesday morning, since the TV show provides a preview of the next day paper."

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