Did Diane Sawyer and ABC promise Bruce Jenner an Espy award if he would talk exclusively to Sawyer?
The NY Post says that TV insiders were sniping that ESPN agreed to honor Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in exchange for her exclusive interview with ABC’s Sawyer, where Jenner spoke for the first time about being transgender. ESPN is owned by Disney/ABC.
It appeared to be no mistake that Diane Sawyer shared the spotlight with Caitlyn Jenner at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards.
“Jenner was given the award after the Sawyer interview. After all, ESPN is part of the ABC family,” said one insider. But another said Sawyer nabbed the exclusive of her own accord: “No deal was done. Vetting for the ESPY Awards didn’t start until long after the Sawyer interview was concluded, about six weeks later.”
The late-April interview was promoted heavily on ESPN.
During her speech, Jenner, 65, thanked Sawyer repeatedly and called her a friend: “I’d like to thank, personally, my buddy Diane Sawyer. You know, you can only tell your story the first time once. And Diane, you did it so authentically and so gracefully. And me and the community is so thankful for that and I thank you so much, Diane. I’m so proud to have you as a friend.”
Last month, an ESPN spokesperson said, “That rumor is false. The Arthur Ashe Award and Diane Sawyer interview were never connected.” An ABC News rep said, “There is absolutely no connection between the interview and the award.”