A 2006 interview where O.J. Simpson gives a hypothetical account of the events that occurred on the night his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were slain, will be shown for the first time Sunday evening.
The interview with publisher Judith Regan will air from 8-10 p.m. on Fox, which has titled the special, “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?” The planned showing in 2006 of the interview — then titled, “O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened” — was canceled a week before it was to air by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch
Murdoch also dropped plans by a publishing company — whose parent company is News Corp.– to publish the book Simpson had written, “If I Did It.”
Murdoch apologized and called the project “ill-considered.”
“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” Murdoch said in a statement at the time. “We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”
A federal bankruptcy judge in 2007 awarded the rights to the book to the Goldman family. Ron Goldman’s father Fred arranged for it to be published under the new title, “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”
Terence Wrong, the executive producer of Sunday evening’s special, said he received a “no-pressure invitation to come out to the Fox lot” by Rob Wade, the Fox Broadcasting Co.’s president, alternative entertainment & specials, to view the tapes of the interview and evaluate them.
“I was hooked,” Wrong said on a conference call with reporters last week. “It was riveting television, can’t turn away. The cliche would be “car crash TV,” but … he sucks you in. O.J. (is) charismatic and charming and at the same time there’s something a little manic and a little disturbing — or a lot disturbing.
“I knew I’d never seen anything like it and I knew it would be a unique contribution to what people understand or know about the O.J. Simpson case.”
After watching tapes of the interview, Wrong called it “a little eerie to be inside his head for so many hours, just listening to the stream of consciousness come out of his mouth, because that’s the way he talks.”
“There are a million parentheticals, and he just zigs and zags to one subject after another, and it’s disturbing,” said Wrong, an executive producer of the ABC documentary series “Hopkins,” “Boston Med” and “NY Med.”
Simpson was acquitted in October 1995 of criminal charges in the June 12, 1994, killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman in front of her Brentwood residence. A civil court jury, however, found him responsible for the killings and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in restitution to the victims’ families.
The Goldman family has collected some money over the years.
The special is hosted by former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. Christopher Darden, a prosecutor in Simpson’s criminal trial, will be among the program’s analysts, along with Regan, Eve Shakti Chen, a representative of Nicole Brown Simpson’s family, Rita Smith, an anti-domestic violence advocate, and Jim Clemente, a retired FBI profiler.
“O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?” will air with limited interruptions and feature public service announcements on domestic violence awareness throughout the program, according to Fox.
–City News Service