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Te’o, parents to appear on TV with Couric

– Manti Te’o will answer questions about the dead girlfriend hoax again, and this time, the All-American linebacker will do it in an on-camera interview.

The former Notre Dame star and his parents, Brian and Ottilia, will appear on Katie Couric’s syndicated daytime talk show Thursday, ABC News announced Sunday.

Te’o did an off-camera interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on Friday after Deadspin.com published a story Wednesday that revealed his relationship with a woman was a hoax.

Excerpts from the interview on “Katie” will be broadcast in advance on “Good Morning America” and other ABC News programs, according to the New York Times.

Couric is a special correspondent for ABC News and a former host of NBC’s “Today” show and was an anchor for the CBS Evening News.

The Times pointed out a fortunate connection between Couric and Te’o that could have helped her secure the on-camera interview. The spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, whom the Te’o family hired is also the longtime spokesman for Couric.

On Friday, Te’o told ESPN he was a victim of the hoax and did not participate in the scheme. The Heisman Trophy runner-up told ESPN that the alleged mastermind of the hoax, 22-year-old Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, apologized to him Wednesday.

Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, uncle of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, told the Associated Press the family plans to meet this week to determine when and how his nephew will talk about the bizarre prank.

“We want to do it right,” he said, noting that the family has hired an attorney. He never directly mentioned the hoax or his nephew being involved.

Te’o became suspicious that a woman named Lennay Kekua didn’t exist when he received a phone call from someone claiming to be Kekua on Dec. 6.

Te’o had been led to believe the woman had died Sept. 12, hours after his grandmother, Annette Santiago, died Sept. 11.

Te’o, who continued to refer to his dead girlfriend in interviews after the Dec. 6 phone call, told Notre Dame about the possible ruse Dec. 26, and the school hired an independent investigator to look into the situation Dec. 29.

On Jan. 4, Notre Dame was told by the investigator that Te’o was the victim of a hoax, and the university informed the family Jan. 5 of the results and left it up to the Te’os on when to go public.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown told the South Bend Tribune in a story published Sunday that some school administrators wanted to release what was learned about the hoax after the information was available, but it was decided disclosing the information about the hoax before the BCS championship would not be in the best interest of the teams or the individuals involved.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

tkrausz@jg.net

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