Fox broadcast network has been trying to cash in on the O.J .Simpson murder story for years; on Wednesday it announced its latest stab. The network is developing a “tentpole event series” called “The Run of His Life: The People V. O.J. Simpson,” based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book of same name.
“Everybody remembers where they were when O.J. Simpson, riding in a white Bronco, led the police on a low-speed chase all over Los Angeles,” Fox noted in its announcement, crediting the event with the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and “the birth of reality television.”
“‘The Run of His Life’ will ‘take viewers behind the scenes of ‘The Trial of The Century’, driven by the nonstop plot of a courtroom thriller and presenting the story of the trial as it has never been told,” Fox promised.
Fox last tried to get into bed with Simpson’s sordid story in 2006, announcing in November of that year The Practically Perfect November Sweep Stunt: a two-hour interview in which Simpson himself would detail how he would have murdered his wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman more than 10 years earlier.
Had he done it.
Which he didn’t.
Just ask him.
“O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened” also was to have been based on a book of same name, this one from the former pro football player himself; the book was scheduled to drop a couple days after the interview — and just in time for the holiday gift buying season, because who wouldn’t love to find a copy of OJ’s sordid sort-of-hypothetical confession in their Christmas stocking on the morning of the day in which we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus?
That book, BTW, was being published under an imprint of Fox parent NewsCorp’s publishing house, and the head of that imprint, Judith Regan was to have conducted the TV interview.
At that time, TV industry suits predicted the country would be outraged — and viewers would tune in by the millions.
Sadly, a few days later, NewsCorp canceled the book and the TV interview, succumbing to the outrage, after a dozen Fox-affiliated TV stations said they would not air the interview.
“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said at that time, adding, “We are sorry for any pain that his has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”