Passing on the OJ
Wow! Now this doesn’t happen every day. A giant media conglomerate backs off on plans after a public outcry? I’m talking about Fox and News Corp. today canceling the O.J. Simpson "Why I Did It" TV specials -- and book too!
I mean, who wasn’t appalled when they heard about this last week? And in what I consider a stunning turn of events, News Corp. – which owns Fox Broadcasting and ReganBooks – today dropped both projects. They must have been feeling a lot of heat – from viewers, advertisers and affiliates. (What advertiser would want to sponsor "If I Did It?" I’m sure you’ll have some great suggestions.
Wire reports quote News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch as saying: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project." (As that other Simpson would say: "D'oh!")
Channel 19 here received more than 100 emails (in less than a week) protesting the planned two-part Simpson interviews next Monday and Wednesday (Nov. 27 & 29) to promote the book, which was to be released Nov. 30. General Mgr. John Long was on the phone with Raycom Media corporate execs part of the morning. I’m hearing that they were leaning toward not airing the show – but held off any announcement until Fox killed the Simpson show, making it moot.
Another point: If Fox and Ch 19 had aired OJ, we wouldn’t have seen the second part in prime-time on Weds Nov. 29 because of a UC basketball game. The station already had pushed Fox’s prime-time schedule into late-night for the UC game, so there was another reason to bag the first installment.
One more note: If Fox had aired OJ, most Time Warner cable subscribers would have seen it on
These things just don’t happen often. Usually a network goes ahead with a bad idea, and apologizes later, like the air crash/"Lost" bit to open the Emmy awards the day of the Lexington plane crash in August. (You can list others.) Not often does a network bend and snap under pressure from advertisers and affiliates. (Like I said, who would sponsor it?) But to cancel the book too?
Oh, one last thing, and I credit this to my coworker, Lauren Bishop our pop culture writer. To be able to have thousands of books in stores next Thursday, after the TV special, they must already be printed. So how quickly will copies show up on e-Bay?
You’ll tell me that too, I’m sure.
Hello Mary Jo
Check out the blog of Mary Jo DiLonardo, former Cinci Post writer and WLW-AM staffer who’s now a senior contributing editor for Atlanta Magazine. She wrote a funny blog about George Clooney being "Sexiest Man Alive" again, and her close encounter with him at a Music Hall gala for the Clooneys in 1995. Here’s a link.