A story published online Sunday in the New York Times detailed how Vice Media and HBO executed its well-publicized trip to North Korea with NBA hall-of-famer Dennis Rodman.
According to the piece, authored by media reporter Brian Stelter, the plan put in motion about a month ago by HBO executive Michael Lombardo and Vice, the Brooklyn-based media organization:
The executive was Michael Lombardo, and the partner was Vice Media, the Brooklyn media company with something of a daredevil streak. The conversation happened about a month ago, when production was well under way on “Vice,” a newsmagazine that will have its premiere on HBO on April 5.
The company’s bosses said they were planning a visit to the secretive country, centered on an exhibition basketball game with the flamboyant former N.B.A. star Dennis Rodman and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters. HBO decided to add what Mr. Lombardo said was “a little bit” of extra financing, beyond what it had already agreed to pay for the newsmagazine.
“It felt like something that could be interesting for the show,” Mr. Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said last Friday as he recalled the meeting.
By Friday, the trip wasn’t just “interesting,” it was international news. Kim Jong-un showed up for the exhibition game in Pyongyang the day before, making Mr. Rodman and Vice’s film crew the first Americans known to have met the North Korean ruler since he inherited power from his father in 2011.
It has not yet been announced when HBO will air the footage from the North Korea. While a filming crew for Vice is still in North Korea, Rodman returned to the United States last week and described the country's young leader as "really awesome."