Will CBS heed Daily Mail's demand? Tabloid seeks deletion of 'offending content' from Meghan Markle interview
In the latest development in the Meghan Markle vs royal family fiasco, Associated Newspapers, which owns UK's tabloid Daily Mail, has written to ViacomCBS demanding that "offending content" be deleted from the interview before it's re-aired on March 12, as per The Hollywood Reporter. Daily Mail's lawyers took exception to the images in a newspaper headline montage in the special, which they claim has been "altered or misinterpreted." They demanded that this montage be edited from the TV special.
"As a responsible broadcaster with integrity, we believe therefore that you will deprecate, as we do, the deliberate distortion and doctoring of newspaper headlines in the misleading montage of British newspapers broadcast in ‘Oprah with Meghan and Harry’. Many of the headlines have been either taken out of context or deliberately edited and displayed as supporting evidence for the programme’s claim that the Duchess of Sussex was subjected to racist coverage by the British press," Associated Newspapers group legal director Elizabeth Hartley wrote.
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According to Deadline, Associated Newspapers cited three examples in its letter, arguing that the most "egregious" was an image containing the headline: “Meghan’s seed will taint our Royal Family.” The company claimed this was an edited version of the original headline, which reported on the suspension of a UKIP member over her racist texts about Markle. For those unaware, UKIP is a UK political party.The original headline was: "Meghan’s seed will taint our Royal Family’: UKIP chief’s glamour model lover, 25, is suspended from the party over racist texts about Prince Harry’s wife-to-be."
“I should be grateful for your urgent confirmation that the offending content will be removed from the program currently being made available to the public. We also understand that a further broadcast is being planned tonight. The montage should therefore be deleted prior to that broadcast," Hartley added.
The primetime special on CBS that went on for two hours saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex give their first in-depth interview on TV after leaving the royal family. The interview saw Oprah speaking to Meghan on the reason behind stepping away from royal life, marriage to Prince Harry, her philanthropic work and more. The talk also saw Prince Harry join in and the couple talking about their move to the US. And in answering these questions, there was some startling revelations that took the world by storm.
Although the interview with Meghan and Harry was a major rating boost for CBS, with the network paying roughly $8 million for the rights to the program and selling 30-second commercials at a rate of $325,000. It was the 1993 tell-all with the pop star, Michael Jackson that has continued to be the most-watched interview of Oprah's decorated career. The 90-minute sit-down with Jackson was viewed by an audience of 62 million viewers who tuned in to ABC. This, during an era when broadcast networks faced most of their competition from cable TV only, was beyond commendable as it was available around 60 percent of US households.
Earlier, we reported that an average of 17.1 million viewers watched the two-hour special telecast that aired on March 7 from 8 to 10 pm on both coasts, as per Nielsen. Considering CBS sold 30-second commercials at a rate of $325,000, the viewership is a whopping success for the network. The interview also saw Oprah being dubbed as "the best interviewer" with fans calling it a masterclass.