How Will Viewers and Advertisers React to OJ on Fox?

Perhaps I'm just falling for a well-orchestrated hoax here... because it seems unbelievable that OJ Simpson would go on Fox to give an interview describing how he would've killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman if he did it.

The title of the interview: "If I did it, here's how it happened."

People Magazine says:

In a stunning announcement, FOX TV says it plans to interview the 59-year-old former football star and actor about "how he would have committed" the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, for which he was acquitted in a criminal trial. (In a 1997 civil case, Simpson was found liable for the two deaths.)

The two-part, "unrestricted" interview, to be conducted by book publisher Judith Regan and called O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, will air Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, says FOX, the Associated Press reports.

On Nov. 30, Simpson's book, titled If I Did It, which Regan is publishing, goes on sale. Its text "hypothetically describes how the murders would have been committed," according to a press release.

"This is an interview that no one thought would ever happen," FOX executive Mike Darnel tells the New York Post, which, like FOX TV and Judith Regan's imprint at HarperCollins, is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

I like how that's phrased as though people considered the possibility of an interview like this in the first place.

Wayne Friedman asks:

What advertisers will be affixing their names to this illustrious event, produced by Fox's reality maven, Mike Darnell?

In the past, murderers, alleged murderers and other nefarious underworld characters have made their appearances in news programs in prime-time TV--on "60 Minutes," "Dateline," or a host of other talk/news shows like "Oprah Winfrey." Those events had advertising support. But they were all under the guise of news programming. Their programs weren't billed with O.J. Simpson's name in the title.

Perhaps this is indeed a test to see whether Simpson can make his big return. Yes, I said return. Since the day he was cleared, Simpson has said that he would get back all that he had lost--his career as a sportscaster, his career doing major sponsorship endorsements.

He said he would get all that back, "in spades."

Simpson must feel he is close to drawing that flush. A true test will be what advertisers come on to support this show with his name attached.

Phil Rosenthal offers the inevitable column excoriating the media here.

So am I curious to see this program? Of course. But do I want to help Fox make money off of it? No.

My solution?

I figure that if Fox can justify airing this television event without moral qualms then I can justify watching a pirated version on YouTube after some anonymous media junkie out there has posted it with all the commercials removed.

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