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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Latest episode: Esquire Network passes on campaign as reality show

Bad news for Nick Di Iorio, the Republican who floated the idea of turning his doomed challenge to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) into a reality show for pay: the Esquire Network said it has passed on the idea.

"This program is not being developed or produced by Esquire Network," said Katherine Nelson, the network's senior vice president of communications in an email.

After that development, Di Iorio's campaign manager, Joe Shippee, issued a release this afternoon distancing the campaign from the reality show idea.

"The Nick for New York campaign has not received any reality show proposals from any cable television networks at this time," Shippee said. "The campaign never actively sought out reality-based media opportunities, and is not seeking out reality-based media opportunities."

But the campaign did talk to producers about a series of two campaigns in districts "where their odds of winning are very low," according to a letter by Shippee to the FEC, and an FEC summary of follow-up conversations between Shippee and an FEC staff member.

"The candidate has signed a consent agreement with the show's producers, in which both parties agree to move forward with the show if it is optioned by the cable company," the FEC summary, addressed to Shippee, said. 

"You do not expect the show to be produced unless it is optioned by Esquire Network," it said. "Esquire Network is expected to provide all funding for the television show. Details of how the candidate or staff might be paid have yet to be worked out, but you expect the amount of payments to be comparable to what other reality TV participants are paid. You expect the timing of payment to be whatever is customary in the business."

The Washington Post first reported the Esquire Network said it was not developing or producing the show.

Pressed by Newsday on whether such a show had been pitched to Esquire Network, Nelson said yes. Asked if a decision by Esquire Network on the pitched show was still pending, Nelson said, "We have passed."

A draft advisory opinion actually okayed the idea of a reality show based on a campaign with one proviso: the candidate and campaign staff couldn't do it for pay. The comment period on that draft ends tomorrow morning at 9. 

In his press release, which takes a swipe at Maloney, Shippee sought to salvage the publicity about the campaign as reality show idea: "New Yorkers deserve better, and Nick hopes any media attention will draw people to learn more about him."


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