Pity poor Pippa Middleton.
It seems that NBC have decided not to give her a job, for now at least, as a special correspondent, loosely modeled on the $600,000 deal carved out for Chelsea Clinton, who may have been ridiculed for her presenting skills but was undoubtedly envied for her pay package, which equated to $26,000 per on-screen minute.
Other members of the “lucky sperm club” include Jenna Bush, whose big scoop was to interview her dad about his paintings, and Fergie.
Now, we can add to that unhappy collection of nepotistic nadirs the case of Pippa Middleton, except poor Pippa has not yet got as far as extracting an actual paycheck from the beleaguered network.
Contract negotiations with NBC have apparently stalled after her test tape, which featured her line-dancing in a Wyoming bar, failed to impress.
An NBC source told The Daily Beast however that “talks are still ongoing” with Pippa, adding that there’s no rush to do a deal with her, and they are still trying to figure out what role she might play—whether, for example, she’d be better at live shots, in studio, or taped pieces.
The source added that a test shoot in Wyoming wasn’t, as has been reported, a disaster.
The option for her to work for the Today show—complicated, of course, by her situation with Clarence House—remains a live one, if not an urgent one, the source says.
Friends of Pippa in the U.K. are meanwhile spinning that she has decided not to pursue the NBC gig because she wants to spend more time with her fiancée, Nico Jackson, who is based in Geneva. If that were really her major aim, one might suggest that she move there rather than continue living in London, but, hey-ho.
If Pippa’s big U.S. TV dream is over and she needs to find a new job, the big question of course is—what can she do?
If Pippa is smart, then she will realize that a career in the media is never going to work out long term for her. She may long to be writing the content of newspapers and magazines, but the truth is that those publications would much rather be writing about her.
The royal family has made it clear to Pippa that she will be disowned if she discloses any personal details about Kate—which is why her publishers were unable to promote her book on entertaining after the Royals banned her from doing any interviews at all amid fears it would appear she was cashing in on her sister’s new royal status.
“Clarence House were an absolute nightmare to deal with,” says a publishing source. “They demanded to look at every page.”
But it was the interview ban that hurt sales the most. Despite her fame, the source says, “No one actually had much sense of who she was.”
Without interviews, that problem persisted and translated into disappointing sales of the book.
But the lure of the Middleton name was still enough to win Pippa columnist contracts with The Telegraph (not renewed after six months of sustained ridicule), and her ongoing commitments for Waitrose, a U.K. supermarket magazine, and Vanity Fair, where she also acts as a useful social appendage for Graydon Carter when he visits London for the Serpentine Gallery show in the summer.
NBC, however, decided to have another shot at harnessing the undoubted public fascination with Pippa after an interview conducted by host Matt Lauer got excellent ratings despite her anodyne answers (e.g. on Kate: “We have a normal, sisterly relationship”) to his unchallenging questions, flying her to Wyoming to film a test reel of her square dancing with cowboys.
It seems, however, her takes have not been enough to warrant an immediate signing from NBC.
Pippa’s wisest move now may be to take the path of many a struggling media star before here and return to the industry she previously thrived in—which, in Pippa’s case, is party planning.
“It’s awkward for her being in the media as people will always want stuff on the Royals, and her safe responses are boring if understandable,” says one source. “But oligarchs or rich Americans would pay through the nose to have their parties organized by the future Queen’s sister, who organized the party after the Royal wedding.”
Another source says Pippa was “extremely competent and always well thought of” in London’s party-planning world and would certainly have the capacity to rise to the top of that particular field.
There is little doubt she would be welcomed back with open arms by any of the top party planning companies in London, not least Table Talk, the company where she worked previously.
If that sounds too much like hard work, and the NBC gig really does fail to pan out, well, Pippa enjoys shooting, cooking, and hosting—which, far from a glamorous TV career, adds up to the perfect bedrock for a standard British posh person’s marriage. Surely Pippa can’t consign herself to that.