Were any media outlets in on the 'balloon boy' hoax?

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Were any media outlets in on the 'balloon boy' hoax?

Mon Oct 19, 2009 @ 12:06PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Balloon--125569215874303700 As a Colorado couple prepares to face criminal charges for allegedly perpetrating the "balloon boy" hoax, we turn our attention to whether anyone in media and entertainment had advance knowledge of what was going to happen.

Richard Heene, who once appeared on ABC's "Wife Swap," was supposedly trying to develop a new reality science TV show. Late last week, an alleged associate of Heene offered to sell proof that the story of the balloon boy was a prank. Gawker bit and published the account of a student researcher who says he helped Heene pitch their idea for TV.

Now there are reports that investigators are also looking into whether media outlets conspired with the alleged hoaxers too, raising the possibility that there are people in the industry who might have been in on the prank.

A Colorado sheriff says one outlet agreed to pay the Heenes in connection with the balloon incident, and that this outlet was a show that blurs "the line between entertainment and news."

Hmm, maybe this episode blurs the line between gullibility and culpability.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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