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TV Bulletin Board (June 25)

***Piffle ball. Paris Hilton fell into the lap of Larry King over the weekend after ABC and then NBC ceased efforts to land an interview with the jailed airhead heiress, who's scheduled to be released on Tuesday (June 26th).

The two broadcast networks seemingly were embarrassed by revelations of money changing hands in return for a Hilton exclusive. Their news divisions insist they don't pay directly for interviews, but sometimes do pay for "other considerations," including access to family-owned photographs or videos of Hilton. NBC reportedly had considered paying up to $1 million for those rights after ABC offered a piddling $100,000 to the already filthy rich Hiltons.

CNN's King now will go one-on-one with Paris on his Wednesday program (8 p.m. central). No money will change hands, says CNN. Hilton, in a statement, says she's "thrilled that Larry King has asked me to appear on his program to discuss my experience in jail, what I have learned, how I have grown and anything else he wants to talk about."

The interview could give Larry King Live its biggest audience in years. The show usually trails Fox News Channel's competing Hannity & Colmes in the nightly Nielsen ratings.

On Sunday's edition of CBS' Face The Nation, anchor Bob Schieffer offered a tongue-in-cheek apology for failing to land the Hilton interview.

"I feel terrible about it," he said. "I haven't felt so low since one of our competitors broke into programming to report that the embalming of Anna Nicole Smith's body had begun. Getting scooped on a big story is never fun, not then, not ever. And we never got to first base on that story either, which is why we tried to be competitive on this one."

Schieffer closed the show by acknowledging, "The truth is I never asked Paris Hilton to be on Face the Nation, and for one reason. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to ask her. Can you?"

***TBS has bought the first syndicated repeat rights to NBC's The Office, which will debut on the cable network in fall 2007 at the rate of two episodes per week from the comedy's first three seasons. Fox-owned stations, including Fox4 in Dallas, will have exclusive broadcast rights to Office reruns in fall 2009.