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Early Screeners Build Buzz for FX’s ‘The People V. O.J. Simpson’ Series

How do you get attention for a new series in the Peak TV era? Getting the chatter started early via social media is a must.

FX gave journalists a gift that many of us didn’t know we wanted — screeners of “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” to binge over the holiday break. The buzz on the high-gloss limited series has been steadily building during the past 10 days since physical discs and streaming links for the first six episodes became available to media types on or about Dec. 17. The series begins its 10-episode run on Feb. 2.

Reactions so far have been generally positive, particularly in regards to the cast. Sarah Paulson has been singled out for her work as prosecutor Marcia Clark, who struggles with personal problems and rampant sexism while on a mission to convict the football legend for the June 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

John Travolta shows a different side of himself as an actor in his portrayal of defense attorney Robert Shapiro. Cuba Gooding Jr. (O.J. Simpson), Courtney B. Vance (defense attorney Johnnie Cochran), David Schwimmer (attorney and Simpson friend Robert Kardashian), Bruce Greenwood (L.A. district attorney Gil Garcetti), Nathan Lane (defense attorney F. Lee Bailey) and Connie Britton (Nicole Simpson friend and future “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” trouper Faye Resnick) add to the firepower.

A number of commentators (including this writer) have noted their surprise at how compelling the retelling of the Simpson saga proves to be. After all, we know how it ends. It’s also noteworthy that “People V. O.J. Simpson” depicts a media tsunami that crests just before the world changed forever as email, Internet access and mobile phones became widely available.

There’s been some teasing about how “People V. O.J. Simpson” exec producers — Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and Brad Falchuk and scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski — couldn’t resist including the then-teen and pre-teen Kardashian kids in the story, given the celebrity status today of Kim, Khloe, et al. Matriarch Kris, who by the time of the murders is divorced from Robert Kardashian and onto her marriage to Caitlyn Jenner, is depicted as having a strong reaction to her ex-husband prominently supporting the man accused of murdering her friend Nicole.

FX’s tagline for “The People V. O.J. Simpson’s” marketing materials is “You don’t know the half of it.” Six episodes in, the evidence to prove the truth of that statement is mounting.

Here’s a sampling of early reactions among journalists to “The People V. O.J. Simpson.”

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