Since his football days, the media has always followed O.J. Simpson. When he fled authorities in a white Ford Bronco after being charged in the murders of his wife and a friend, that chase turned into hot pursuit.
There’s little reason to think the dynamic will cease now that Simpson has won parole after being convicted for robbery in 2008.
Many TV news outlets are eager to score an interview with the man who was at the center of what may be the trial of the century — even though he has since been acquitted, arrested for robbery, and, today, newly set free.
One person familiar with TV news operations suggested Simpson would be a prime “get” for any of the big outlets — and also hinted that getting him would not be cheap. After all, since he lost a civil suit filed by the families of his former wife, Nicole Simpson Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman, Simpson has only paid a portion of the $33.5 million a jury awarded them.
A financial requirement would clearly put him out of bounds for some media organizations. But if money were not a part of the puzzle, who would want to sit down with O.J.? Here are a few suggestions:
*Sports TV: Simpson is the rare celebrity who would be of interest to general audience as well as niche fans (sports, to be sure, is a pretty large niche). Fox Sports didn’t hesitate to put Pete Rose on the air as a baseball analyst, despite his well-documented history with gambling on the sport — a problem that got him banned from Major League Baseball activities for life. So a sit-down with Fox Sports 1 would no doubt excite executives there. ESPN’s focus on deeper sports journalism on its “30 for 30” — which covered Thursday’s parole hearing in a special broadcast — could also provide an interesting forum for an in-depth conversation.
*Morning TV: In this era of “multi-platforming,” the broadcast news operations typically spread a big, exclusive interview across multiple shows. But they often trot out the first snippets on morning TV. Landing Simpson is something that could easily be spread from “Today” to “NBC Nightly News,” from “CBS This Morning” to “60 Minutes,” or from “Good Morning America” to “World News Tonight.
*New Showcases: A Simpson interview could bring new attention to up-and-coming outlets. For that reason, it stands to reason that digital news operations like Vice News might try to snare Simpson. Or any of the big media companies could grant Simpson a solo spotlight, as ABC did when Diane Sawyer landed a talk with Caitlyn Jenner. It’s not too crazy to think staffers at NBC’s “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” would want to make their pitch as well.
During the Thursday parole hearing — one that provided hours of fodder for the nation’s TV news outlets — the former football great said that he has been besieged with “media opportunities,” and scoffed at a previous remark he had made about starting a blog or his own website. But the prospect of new fame, especially in the form of a primetime TV interview, is hard to resist.