TV Ratings Run Amok: The O.J.Simpson Book Deal

by Lou on November 21, 2006

This post has no poker content at all, but I’ve been infuriated by O.J. Simpson book deal/TV special story for days, and decided to post about it.

Thank goodness some people have a modicum of common sense, or perhaps the firestorm of adverse publicity and criticism caused News Corp. to pull the plug on the disgusting O.J. Simpson (pictured left) book and TV special “If I Did It.” In the book and show, Simpson speaks hypothetically about how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman (pictured right).

Publisher Judith Regan (pictured right) said she considered the book to be Simpson’s confession, a statement as transparently false as Simpson’s assertion that he’s still out there looking for the real killers. I think Regan was simply eyeing revenue from books sales and looking for another feather in her publishing cap rather than wringing a confession out of Simpson, who now — even 10 years after the killings of Ron and Nicole — is one of the most reviled men in America.

This entire affair was a moral compass spinning mindlessly out of control, driven by the need to generate ratings during the November sweeps period. If you have any doubts, just follow the money. “If I Did It” was published by ReganBooks, a subsidiary of publishing giant HarperCollins, which is owned — like the Fox network — by News Corp. The television special would have aired on two of the final three nights of the November sweeps, when ratings are used to set advertising rates.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said, “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”

Sounds to me like News Corp, Fox, HarperCollins, ReganBooks and publishing maven Judith Regan had no qualms whatsoever about foisting this disgusting crap on the viewing public until enough people were sufficiently angry to force them to reconsider their plans. One can only hope the involved parties will learn from this fiasco, and that anyone with a moneymaking scheme involving O.J. Simpson will think better of it.

I’m expecting to find the book in Border’s remainder bins sometime soon, but even then I won’t buy it.

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