FOX AFFILIATE BACKLASH (UPDATED 11/21 06:46 ET)
Two broadcasting companies which own a combined nine Fox television affiliates have announced they will refuse to air a two-part special in which former NFL star O.J. Simpson discusses his role in the 1994 murder of his former wife and her friend.
The programme, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened" is scheduled to air next Monday and Wednesday evenings, and preceeds a book in which Simpaon describes how he would have committed the crimes "if he were the one responsible". The book's publisher, Judith Regan, conducts the two hour interview. Regan says that she considers the book to be Simpson's confession.
LIN Broadcasting and Pappas Broadcasting announced last week that their Fox stations would refuse to air the programme. Pappas officials stated that they did not wish to help Simpson profit from the broadcast.
The stations which will not air "If I Did It..." are:
WALA-TV 10, Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL
KMPH-TV 26, Fresno, CA
WUPW-TV 36, Toledo, OH
KASA-TV 2, Alberquerque, NM
WNAC-TV 64, Providence, RI
KPTM-TV 42, Omaha, NE
KTVG-TV 17, Lincoln/Grand Isle, NE
KEVN-TV 7, Rapid City/Dakota Dunes, SD
WLUK-TV 11, Green Bay, WI
For those who may not remember, Simpson was acquitted in 1995 in the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. However, he was later found liable for the deaths in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Goldman's family.
UPDATE: After the huge backlash, News Corporation Chairman/CEO K. Rupurt Murdoch cancelled both airing of the Simpson special and release of the book.
The press release was short, only two paragraphs, reprinted here in it's entirity:
New York, NY- November 20, 2006 - News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch today announced that the company has canceled publication of the book If I Did It as well as the corresponding FOX broadcast network special.
Mr. Murdoch said: “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson.”
My response: DUH!
Even some of Fox's top news stars, Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, came out against the project.
O'Reilly: "I'm not going to watch the Simpson show or even look at the book. I'm not even going to look at it. If any company sponsors the TV program, I will not buy anything that company sells — ever."
Rivera, from his blog last week, was even blunter:
"Of all the low down, sleazy and sadistic tricks, O.J. Simpson — a disgusting, murdering liar — is cashing in big-time on his notorious crimes.
The smug pig...has reportedly already spent much of the money he’s been advanced for the project. And he’s done it in a diabolically clever way that shields the money from the victim’s families, who have a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment pending against Simpson. He’s reportedly used it to pay off a Miami home, which is protected by law from creditors, and a luxury condo offshore in the Bahamas."