Palin's show drops LL Cool J after he complains
Thursday, April 1, 2010; 2:31 AM
NEW YORK -- An upcoming Fox News Channel special hosted by Sarah Palin is titled "Real American Stories."
But rapper-actor LL Cool J says his participation in the show was bogus.
In response, the network has snipped him from the program.
In a Twitter posting late Tuesday, the entertainer wrote that Fox "lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW."
Country singer Toby Keith was similarly caught by surprise, his publicist said Wednesday.
Elaine Schock said a radio reporter contacted her Tuesday seeking details about Keith's announced appearance on Palin's Fox News program.
"I said, 'You're wrong. There is no Sarah Palin special with Toby Keith on it on Fox,'" Schock said.
She said the reporter then e-mailed her the press release issued by Fox News, which said Keith would "explain the inspiration behind his song 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.'"
Schock said she believed the interview was conducted in January 2009 in Las Vegas but she had received no e-mail or phone call from Fox News informing her it would air on Palin's show this week.
She said Keith would not request that the footage be removed. She would not comment on his reaction to it being used on the show.
"Real American Stories," which debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT, is hosted by Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, who joined Fox News Channel as a regular contributor in January. The one-hour program is described by Fox News as "the first installment of a new series" that features "real-life tales of overcoming adversity throughout the American landscape."
Fox News says the episode, which was not available for preview, will feature a Marine Medal of Honor recipient "who gave his life to save his comrades" and a wealthy stockbroker who helps underprivileged students pay for college.
Originally listed as part of the show were former General Electric boss Jack Welch and LL Cool J in a segment called "In Their Own Words."
The LL Cool J interview was from 2008, his spokesman said.
"Contrary to what was reported, LL Cool J was never scheduled to be a guest on 'Real American Stories' with Sarah Palin this week," spokesman Rhett Usry said in a statement Wednesday. "The show had planned to use an interview from 2008 that was being repurposed without LL's permission.
"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."
Fox News Channel did not respond to numerous calls and e-mails from The Associated Press inquiring about the status of the segment with LL Cool J, who was born James Todd Smith.
But in a statement released to other media outlets, the network said: "'Real American Stories' features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith's interview fits that criteria. 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."
Credits for the 42-year-old actor include a starring role in the hit CBS freshman series "NCIS: Los Angeles" and several films such as "Last Holiday" and "S.W.A.T."
It was unclear when or if future editions of "Real American Stories" will appear on Fox News. Thursday's airing pre-empts "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."
Palin's ongoing relationship with Fox News Channel as a host and news analyst accounts for only part of her television activities. Last week, the TLC cable network announced "Sarah Palin's Alaska," an eight-part series about Palin's home state that is set to start production this summer.
Fox News Channel is owned by News Corp.