News

Use of feature on Palin's new Fox show not cool with rapper

Matea Gold
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

NEW YORK — Sarah Palin's new show on Fox News will debut Thursday without a segment featuring LL Cool J after the performer complained the network had misleadingly repurposed a 2-year-old interview for the program.

The debut episode of "Real American Stories," a new series profiling inspirational Americans, was originally set to include a clip of LL Cool J in a segment called "In Their Own Words." The rapper and actor had taped the interview for an online project called "Real American Stories" that Fox News launched in the summer of 2008, but was taken aback to learn this week that the clip would be used on a show with the same name being hosted by Palin.

"Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else and are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show," LL Cool J posted Tuesday night on his Twitter page. "WOW."

The network said Wednesday that it would excise the portion of the show about the rapper, whose real name is James Todd Smith, but maintained its right to air it.

" 'Real American Stories' features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith's interview fit that criteria," said a spokeswoman for the network. "However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others, we are cutting his interview from the special and wish him the best with his fledgling acting career."

LL Cool J, currently one of the stars of the CBS series "NCIS: Los Angeles," did not respond directly to the network's statement.

"The show had planned to use an interview from 2008 that was being repurposed without LL's permission," said a spokeswoman for the rapper. "This statement is not a reflection of any feelings LL has toward Fox News or Ms. Palin, whom he has never met, rather a clarification of what we have seen published in the media."

The network said it did not agree to any restrictions in its use of the interview.

In its original release about the show, Fox News said the debut episode would feature LL Cool J and former General Electric Chief Executive Jack Welch talking about their paths to success as part of a segment called "In Their Own Words," but did not specify that they were both originally interviewed some time ago for the Web site.

Palin did not interview any of the well-known figures who will be featured on the show, including country music star Toby Keith, but the former Alaska governor did conduct interviews before a live studio audience with people offering stories of inspiration, such as a girl who risked her life to save a stranger.

The premiere episode of "Real American Stories" is re-airing Sunday, but does not yet have a regular time slot.

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