Gail Shister | Diane Sawyer lands Matos McGreevey in the morning

Posted: March 29, 2007

Dina's doing Diane in the morning and - get this - NBC and CBS say it's no big whup.

Dina Matos McGreevey, ex-wife of former New Jersey governor Jim "I'm a Gay American" McGreevey, will sit down with Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer for her only morning-show interview.

Sawyer will chat up Matos McGreevey in a two-parter scheduled for May 2 and 3, ABC confirms.

Judging by GMA's competitors, McGreevey is not a particularly big "get."

NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show both say they didn't even go after an interview with Matos McGreevey, who's been silent publicly since her husband disclosed his homosexuality in a cringe-inducing news conference in August '04.

Reality check: Oprah Winfrey (who else?) gets first dibs on the Garden State's former first lady, on May 1. By sheer coincidence, that's also the release date of Matos McGreevey's memoir, Silent Partner, about her marriage to a closeted gay man.

Back to the morning wars.

"I don't think we were even interested in it," says Today executive producer Jim Bell of the Matos McGreevey interview.

"I don't consider her to be the story now," says Steve Friedman, head of CBS's morning news broadcasts.

Au contraire, mes freres, says ABC's Jeffrey Schneider, ever ready with a round from his verbal Uzi.

"Those guys should check with their bookers, who were making every conceivable effort to interview Dina," Schneider says. "Perhaps the heads of those shows don't know what their own troops are doing.

"Everybody has heard from Jim McGreevey. I think it will be fascinating to hear from the woman who stood by his side, holding his hand, as he told the world he was gay."

Today won the morning battle for Mr. McGreevey in September, at the start of his media tour to promote his tell-all tome, The Confession. (Oprah was his first stop. Naturally.)

"Since we had him exclusively in the morning, we were sure she would do the other guys," says Today's Bell. "Obviously, we were aware it [Matos McGreevey] was something we needed to be thinking about."

Says CBS's Friedman: "You have to decide what you're going for and what you're not. We went after him and didn't get him. She may be a compelling interview, who knows? I'm sure Diane will do a good job."

McGreevey, who lives in Plainfield, N.J., with his partner, Australian money manager Mark O'Donnell, recently filed for divorce. He also filed for custody and child support for Jacqueline, his 5-year-old daughter with Matos McGreevey.

Big O reality-bound. Speaking of the conglomerate that is Oprah - isn't everybody? - she's getting into the reality-show biz.

Bert van Munster and Elise Doganieri, Emmy-winning creators of CBS's hit The Amazing Race, will executive produce Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give for ABC.

The network has ordered eight episodes from Winfrey's Harpo Prods. In Big Give, a group of 10 people will be given a pot o' dough. Then viewers will follow them as they find "dramatic" ways to help others.

No airdate.

Turning Cheeks. Sixers fans (you know who you are) will be able to hear what goes on inside the huddle and along the sidelines tomorrow when the 76ers take on the Celtics on Comcast SportsNet.

Head coach Maurice Cheeks will wear a mike during the first half of the game. Highlights will air during a special halftime segment, with select moments also heard throughout the second half.

This marks the first time the Sixers have allowed in-game access to SportsNet, the cable network says.

Moving up. From the WCAU alumni file: Kim Godwin, most recently assistant news chief at New York's WCBS, has been named senior producer of Katie Couric's CBS Evening News, effective April 16.

Godwin served two stints at NBC10, as assistant news boss (1994-96) and as senior producer (1991-93).


Contact TV columnist Gail Shister at 215-854-2224 or gshister@ phillynews.com. Read her recent work at http://go.philly.com/gailshister.

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