ABC News Releases Details of ‘primetime>live’ Special

May 3, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Early Tuesday evening, ABC News finally addressed the planned content from Wednesday’s “primetime>live” examination of salacious charges about Fox’s hit “American Idol.”

But before ABC News issued its release about the hour-long special edition, Fox Broadcasting and the producers of “Idol” made public the statement they had sent to “primetime” Tuesday afternoon questioning the credibility of former contestant Corey Clark, who raised the most inflammatory of the charges in the ABC News report: that “Idol” judge Paula Abdul behaved inappropriately with him.

The Fox/”Idol” statement said: “Disqualified ‘American Idol’ contestant Corey Clark was removed from the show for failing to disclose his criminal arrest history. Despite documented procedures and multiple opportunities for contestants to raise any concerns they may have, the producers of “American Idol,” FremantleMedia, 19 Entertainment and Fox were never notified or contacted by Mr. Clark, nor presented any evidence concerning his claims. We will, of course, look into any evidence of improper conduct that we receive. In the meantime, we recommend that the public carefully examine Mr. Clark’s motives, given his apparent desire to exploit his prior involvement with ‘American Idol’ for profit and publicity.”

ABC News said that in an “exclusive” interview with “primetime” co-anchor John Qui%F1;ones, Mr. Clark alleged that “Idol” judge Paula Abdul initiated an off-camera relationship with him while he was a contestant during “Idol’s” second season and that she provided him with tips and assistance, even helping him choose songs and expensive clothes that would boost his on-camera image.

Mr. Clark, who was booted from “Idol” after it became known he had been charged with assaulting his sister, told Mr. Qui%F1;ones that his relationship with Ms. Abdul eventually became sexual. Mr. Clark also charged that Ms. Abdul had implored him — including in an answering machine message that he played for “primetime” — not to talk about her to the media and not to publish the memoir he has been pitching to publishers.

Mr. Clark’s parents told Mr. Qui%F1;ones that their son had told them he was involved with Ms. Abdul and that they disapproved of the relationship with a judge during the competition. They also said they spoke with Ms. Abdul when she called their house looking for their son. Qui%F1;ones also interviewed friends of Mr. Clark, who said he told them about the alleged relationship at the time and even brought Ms. Abdul to meet them. “Primetime” also got reactions to Mr. Clark’s charges from other contestants from the second season of “American Idol.”

“Fallen Idol,” a label ABC News used in promos that began during Sunday night’s “Desperate Housewives,” also is the title of a song Mr. Clark said he has recorded. There was no confirmation from ABC News on Tuesday regarding rumors that “primetime” will play at least part of the song.

A representative of Ms. Abdul issued a statement last week branding Mr. Clark a “liar” trying to get publicity.