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Posted at 08:42 PM ET, 11/14/2011

NBC News matches ABC’s Gabrielle Giffords chat with Jerry Sandusky interview

Jerry Sandusky, center, is escorted to a waiting police car in Bellefonte, Pa. (AP - AP)

NBC News announced late Monday its intention to nuke ABC News’s interview with Rep.Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) with an interview of its own -- between Bob Costas and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, in which Sandusky admits to “showering and horsing around with young boys” but insists he is “innocent of those charges.”

Joe Paterno’s one-time defensive coordinator, and founder of a charity to help at-risk youth, has been charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys dating back as far as 1994, A grand jury report detailed claims of alleged sexual encounters with young boys in Sandusky’s house, in hotels, and in Penn State locker rooms.

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly in the ABC News interview. (IDA MAE ASTUTE - ABC)
So while Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly chat with Diane Sawyer about how humor and determination were key to Gabrielle’s recovery after being shot in the head in January — over on NBC’s new newsmag “Rock Center with Brian Williams, Sandusky will be telling Costas: “I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids I have showered with after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact.”

“I shouldn’t have showered with those kids,” he’ll also concede, when pressed by Costas, in his first interview since the sex abuse scandal accusations.

Giffords’ hasn’t got a chance, ratings-wise. November sweep competition sure can be brutal.

All of the alleged sex abuse victims met Sandusky through their participation in his charity, called The Second Mile, which Sandusky founded in 1977 as a group foster home for troubled boys

The scandal has led to the departure of Paterno and three other university officials, as well as rioting at the university, advertiser pullout out of ESPN’s Penn State game coverage, and on, and on. On Monday, The Second Mile CEO resigned; grand jury testimony alleges he was aware of at least one of the allegations against Sandusky, who is currently free on a $100,000 bond.

In an NBC News interview from 1987, Sandusky joked that he started The Second Mile because he was a “frustrated playground director.”

“I enjoy being around children. I enjoy their enthusiasm. I just have a good time with them,” Sandusky said.

Sorry, Di.

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By  |  08:42 PM ET, 11/14/2011

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