By Ryan Velez
O.J. Simpson is out of prison after nine years, and you think that people would be lining up to hear what he has to say following his imprisonment. Apparently, Simpson thinks so as well, and his associates are shopping around his first post-prison interview. The Hollywood Reporter reports that there is one major issue: no one is biting.
"It is treacherous," says one TV news veteran. Not with a "10-foot pole," says another. Why not choose what has all the potential to be a hot topic? Part of it is the price. Those representing Simpson are asking for a seven-figure payment to interview him. While he was famously acquitted in the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, he spent the last nine years in jail for a botched 2007 robbery in Las Vegas. So far, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all reportedly passed on the interview, citing that it would violate news division standards. Large cable TV groups, like A&E Networks and Discovery, have passed as well.
Even if one network was to go for it, there’s no guarantee that O.J. would see all of his asking price. The money would likely be targeted by debtors charged with collecting the $33.5 million civil judgment levied against Simpson in the 1997 wrongful death suit brought by the Brown and Goldman families. Due to unpaid interest, California attorney David Cook mentioned the number has grown to nearly $70 million.
In addition, the networks are also concerned about giving Simpson a platform, and the ethical headache it could cause. Depending on where he appears, it may not lead to losing many advertisers. One media buyer says that "if any anti-O.J. sentiment starts, I could see people pulling away."
Outside of news perspectives, an O.J. special may not be that appealing for advertisers anyway, making it a tough sell in terms of the bottom line. "From a news perspective, it's probably a get," notes media consultant Bill Carroll. "From an advertiser's perspective, it's something that most, if not all, advertisers would stay away from."