Groupon Selling Reporting Credit, On-Air Piece On South Florida's NBC6 UPDATED

Miami's local NBC affiliate is apparently selling on-air reporting credit for $2,500 in a Groupon that became available Monday. The site is now advertising an "Epic Deal" in which Miamians can purchase spots on three-minute segments with host Roxanne Vargas, complete with coaching and make-up.

The journalistic credential will only be for NBC's Six in the Mix entertainment segment, but the concept would still make an Aaron Sorkin character go into a 15-minute soliloquy about journalistic ethics.

Update: After hearing from Riptide, NBC6's program manager Barbara Alfonso says the Groupon is no longer being offered.

The Groupon is part of a series that will allow South Floridians to schmooze with "some of Miami's hottest talent" -- a designation that apparently includes "real housewife" Karent Sierra, according to the company.

Why would NBC6 sell on-air credit and time with a host on Groupon? Riptide called the station to find out, but program manager Barbara Alfonso didn't return a call about the deal. Groupon, meanwhile, was unable to offer information about how much money NBC will make as a merchant selling reporting credit.

Local television news and local, daily deals are two industries that have all-but bottomed out in the past three years. With the latest Pew report showing that local TV viewership continues to decline and the stock market showing that Groupon is worth a mere baby-fraction of its $13 billion valuation in 2011, it makes sense the two industries are colluding to put out an unappetizing product.

Back in the day, the company didn't just throw around the word "epic" when describing its high-end deals. Right before Groupon's stock shares plummeted 30 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the company was offering some pretty baller packages, like a 13-day ocean voyage with a tour of the Titanic.

The deals started declining as Groupon came to embody all things overvalued in the 2012 Tech Bubble: a Vegas meet-and-greet with Rod Stewart and cooking lessons from Gwyneth Paltrow, who released a recipe book in April that would cost families $300 a day to follow.

As for Sierra, the one-time reality star is no longer featured on the Real Housewives series and reportedly lost one of her home to foreclosure earlier this month, according to Gossip Extra.

The particulars of the other package in the series -- the one with Karent Sierra -- are like a meta-commentary on Groupon's free-market free-fall. According to Groupon, they will include a gossip-filled lunch at Skydive Miami followed by a "once-in-a-lifetime" jump.

Update: Alfonso emailed Riptide a statement from NBC6 saying they've canceled the deal:

Unfortunately, a miscommunication occurred between NBC 6 and Groupon which led to the posting of this inaccurate offer. As soon as we saw the offer, we asked Groupon to remove it, which they agreed to do.

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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.