Nine secures rights to Cleo Smith story

Nine reportedly pays more than $2m for interview and rights to story with family of kidnapped WA toddler.

The Nine Network has reportedly paid more than $2m for an exclusive interview with the parents of kidnapped WA toddler Cleo Smith.

The Australian reports interviews with mother Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Giddon and potentially Cleo herself would feature on 60 Minutes with possible spin-offs to the Nine newspapers and a six-part series for Stan.

Darren Wick, Director of Nine News & Current Affairs told The Age, “From a 60 Minutes story to other opportunities across Nine, we will continue to support Cleo and her family as they go through the court process, and we take our legal obligations around reporting on Cleo’s story extremely seriously.”

But any broadcast or publication would likely wait until a trial has been completed, due to possible contempt of court.

Seven was also chasing the story its Spotlight series.

The deal negotiated by Max Markson, surpasses Beaconsfield mine survivors Brant Webb and Todd Russell ($1m each), Lindy Chamberlain ($250,000), mountaineer James Scott ($250,000).

In November when WA premier Mark McGowan commented that, “There will be movies made about this,” Nine-owned  Pedestrian TV described him as being ‘incredibly tone deaf.’

“The comments are icky because they immediately talk about Cleo’s story as it if belongs to the public, and is ours for consumption, when it’s not,” it noted.

“This isn’t a Criminal Minds episode, and Cleo isn’t a character. She is a real little girl who experienced a trauma most of us only read about, and we shouldn’t centre our excitement from such a sensational story when really, we have no idea what she went through and how this will impact the rest of her life.”