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Fox slots controversial O.J. Simpson interview opposite 'American Idol' premiere

Is America tired of the saga of the disgraced former American football idol, O.J. Simpson?

Does America really care that the singing competition series "American Idol" is coming back?

Those two questions can be answered by Nielsen after "American Idol" and a controversial 12-year-old Simpson special that never aired collide a week from Sunday.

ABC announced several weeks ago that its reboot of the former Fox mega-hit, "American Idol," would premiere at 8 p.m. March 11.

On Thursday, Fox decided to try and subvert the launch of its former hit by announcing it will air a two-hour special, "O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?" at the same time as the "Idol" premiere.

Here's a summary of the program provided by Fox:

"In 2006, O.J. Simpson sat down with noted publisher, producer and host Judith Regan for a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred interview, in which Simpson gives a shocking hypothetical account of the events that occurred on the night his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were brutally murdered. During their conversation, Simpson, in his own words, offers a detailed – and disturbing – description of what might have happened on that fateful night of June 12, 1994."

"For over a decade, the tapes of that infamous interview were lost – until now. Simpson’s explosive words finally will be heard, as he answers the questions that gripped a nation during the notorious 'Trial of the Century.'”

The Fox move is widely viewed as an attempt to sabotage ABC's version of "American Idol."

Former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien will host the two-hour Simpson special, which Fox said will air with limited interruptions, feature public service announcements on domestic violence awareness throughout the program and include "a panel of analysts who will discuss the historic and newsworthy interview.

The special and the book that it was based on were canceled in 2006.

According to CNN's Brian Lowry, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch apologized to the Brown and Goldman families for what he called "an ill-considered project." According to Lowry, the difference this time is that Simpson won't profit from the telecast.

Simpson was acquitted of the murders in criminal court but was later found responsible in civil court for both murders and ordered to pay $33.5 million in restitution to the victims’ families.

He spent nine years in prison in a different case involving kidnapping and an armed robbery in Las Vegas and was released on parole in October, 2017.


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