US$300k For Pictures Of Sarah Palin's Grandson?

2 Jan

ANCHORAGE, Alaska : From Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Jamie-Lynn Spears. Celebrity parents have been raking in the big bucks by auctioning off the exclusive right to magazines to publish their newborn’s first public shots.

The next tot to have the celebrity weeklies engaging in a bidding and speculation war is none other than the grandson of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, baby Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston.

Baby Tripp was born on December 28 to the Governor’s 18-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol Palin, and her boyfriend, a high school drop out and apprentice electrician, Levi Johnston.

A report on MSNBC said the soon-to-be-wed couple have made an estimated US$300,000 when People magazine eventually won the bidding war, which according to an unnamed source began at US$100,000.

Prices for the right to publish the former US Vice-Presidential candidate’s grandson’s pictures didn’t sky rocket until the news of Johnston’s mother’s drug-related arrest broke.

“The bidding started well before the baby was born, but once Levi’s mom was arrested – well, then you had a story,” said one editor.

The slow start was also attributed to the less than satisfactory sales of Sarah Palin stories when they were on the newsstands.

“Sarah was on the cover of People, Us Weekly, and OK! the same week, and really only People saw a bump in sales,” said an anonymous source.

Amid all the speculation, however, a People magazine executive has denied in other media reports that any deal has been closed.

People managing editor Larry Hackett said the magazine has had “conversations” about photos with a Palin representative, but no deal has been made and no money has been given to the Palins.

“Would I like the pictures? I would love the pictures, but I don’t have them,” he said.

Paul Harris with Pacific Coast News, an entertainment photo agency based in Los Angeles has suggested that the price tag of US$300,000 would include a sit-down portrait photo shoot of the newborn, his parents and Sarah Palin as well.

However, he doesn’t anticipate escalating interest in paying big money for street photos of the US Republican Governor’s first grandson and teenage daughter.

Sarah Palin, a mother-of-five herself, caused a stir when she disclosed her teenage daughter’s pregnancy just three days after she was nominated as John McCain’s running-mate in the race for the White House in September 2008.

The governor’s office has at press time not returned any requests for comment, but has said the baby’s birth is a private, family matter.

– CNA/os

Channel News Asia

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