Kerry Katona Interview

It has already become another YouTube moment. Kerry Katona, the celebrity who found fame as part of Atomic Kitten, appeared on ITV's This Morning today looking baffled and falling over her words, prompting calls from concerned viewers before the interview had even ended.

Katona's appetite for drink and cocaine is well documented; she has talked about it often enough in the tabloids and celebrity weeklies. So This Morning's concerned co-host, Phillip Schofield, was bound to challenge her about her appearance, asking: "You don't look right to me, are you OK?"

The singer turned reality TV regular replied that she was on prescription medication and glanced around looking for her husband, who was apparently standing off-set. One shocked viewer, Nancy Baker, from Tonbridge, Kent, said: "It's car crash TV - she looked and sounded utterly dreadful."

It is not the first time Katona has appeared on live television looking slightly unsure of herself and she is unlikely to be the last celebrity to stumble into the genre known as "car crash TV".

However, when Oliver Reed or George Best slurred their way through Terry Wogan's prime-time BBC1 chatshow they risked little other than their own reputations. Katona's interview on This Morning was arranged by a phalanx of powerful PR operatives with different products to promote.

Katona remains the face of budget supermarket Iceland, despite lurid tabloid tales about her lifestyle, and today's incident may not change that. But she was invited on to This Morning to talk about her decision to show off her "new body" in lads' mag Zoo after spending £15,000 on plastic surgery - the appearance was arranged by the title's PR company.

The photo session is understood to have angered Richard Desmond, whose OK! magazine pays Katona around £500,000 a year to write a column. Desmond first learned about the shoot when it was followed up in the tabloids, including the Daily Mail, yesterday, and industry insiders claim he is furious about it, making angry phone calls to Zoo's publisher Bauer Media.

It is unlikely Katona broke any contractual agreement by posing in a rival publication. But the fact the interview Katona gave to Zoo was even more revelatory than her OK! column may well have enraged Desmond still further. There are already suggestions that he could pull her column.

The original Zoo shoot was itself devised to promote MTV's new show Whole Again, which follows Katona as she attempts to get back in shape.

ITV is believed to have received a handful of complaints about Katona's appearance, although it has not yet confirmed how many. However, today's incident will not have harmed ITV's viewing figures and it will keep This Morning in the news.

Zoo, which once had a PR strategy based mainly on syndicating shots of its scantily clad cover stars to the tabloids, can now expect a sales boost after a clever piece of product placement. And MTV gets a major plug for its new series.

Katona's career, meanwhile, shows few signs of faltering, such is the enduring appetite for reading and hearing about her colourful life.

Desmond may be irritated that his star columnist is playing for the other side, but OK! could also benefit from Katona's headline-grabbing appearance. (more...)


Added: 22 Oct 2008

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