This is what I’m thinking:
• Some of the details in the FX limited series, “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” have left readers shaking their heads.
Did prosecutor Marcia Clark really not know who Simpson was when she was put in charge of the case?
Did Simpson really have to be talked into hiring defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran?
Was defense lawyer Robert Shapiro really as clueless and egocentric as he is being played by John Travolta?
Did Simpson really say, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.?”
Were young Kim and Khloe Kardashian really depicted in scenes in the book by Jeffrey Toobin, “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” as often as they are in the FX series in which Toobin is a consultant?
The answers are yes, yes, yes, yes and you’ve got to be kidding.
Clark is quoted in Toobin’s book as saying about Simpson “sorry, never heard of him.” Shapiro isn’t quite the parody that Travolta has made him, but Toobin portrays him as a narcissistic, celebrity-driven, ingratiating fool. The phrase “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” is referenced in both Toobin’s book and an upcoming ESPN documentary series about Simpson.
The Kardashian kids depicted in the series before they became reality TV stars are barely mentioned in Toobin’s book. They really aren’t in the FX series much, but any mention of them talking about “Uncle Juice” was bound to be greeted with ridicule.
• Several readers and a local judge were surprised to read in a recent column about Don Paul that noncompete clauses are no longer enforceable in the television industry in New York State. The judge asked for my authority for that statement. A local general manager and a local news director at a rival station both confirmed that is the case.
A local news staffer also sent along a story sent by an attorney that noted on Aug. 6, 2008, former Gov. David Paterson signed into law the “Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work Act” that prevented employers from enforcing noncompete provisions against former employees. It excludes “management employees” without defining who they are.
The law explains how easy it was for Andy Parker to go from Channel 2 to Channel 7 and Ed Drantch to go from Channel 4 to Channel 7 after their contracts expired without having to sit out any time.
• It will be good to hear Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret on Tuesday calling the high-profile game between the NHL’s top draft choice, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, and the Sabres’ Jack Eichel, the second choice. The game is on MSG because NBCSN dropped it a few weeks ago. Jeanneret is returning from a scheduled, lengthy vacation. Sources say he is feeling fine.
• I would like to thank many readers for sending me supportive emails after Sunday’s column on local TV’s overblown snow coverage. Special thanks to Tom Jolls, the legendary Channel 7 weatherman, who sent along an email of support.
• Channel 2’s owner, TEGNA, is offering a voluntary retirement plan to eligible employees. According to published reports, the buyouts are for employees over the age of 55, who have had 15 years of service and qualify in other ways. I’m told that weatherman Kevin O’Connell, who plans to retire next year, isn’t eligible and almost everyone who might take the buyout works behind the scenes.
• We’re down to the final episode of “Downton Abbey” on March 6, and you can expect to see more of the happy endings in this season’s previous episodes. I was a little surprised that everything about every key character was tied in such a neat bow. The final episode follows narrative structure, which means viewers are going to be teased that what they hope will happen might not happen until it does happen. It’s a very American way to end a British series.
• I’ve seen the first six episodes of the fourth season of “House of Cards,” which is available Friday on Netflix and here’s my quick headline: Too Much Claire, Too Little of Frank. And too little humor.
Last season ended with the deceitful married couple in the White House, Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), at odds and apparently headed for a separation. I can’t reveal too much by Netflix rules, but the tension in the House remains at season’s start.
You might think that would mean Frank would be talking to himself or to the audience as much or more than he has in the past. But he doesn’t break the fourth wall to talk to the audience with his often funny asides until the second episode and rarely does it after that.
Let’s just say Frank is haunted by some of the reprehensible things he’s done in the first three seasons and the show is haunted by Wright’s one-note acting as the writers try to test viewers to choose whether Claire or Frank is more evil and more powerful.
The series also is haunted by its miscalculation of the gas crisis, but, hey, the episodes obviously were written a while ago so that can be forgiven.
Like the final year of many four-year presidential terms, this season is hard to be as enthusiastic about. It even makes one consider that it might be a good idea to find a new Netflix candidate to support.
• I’ve quickly become a fan of “Full Frontal,” the 10:30 p.m. Monday TBS series featuring Samantha Bee, formerly of “The Daily Show.” The first three episodes skewering politicians, often about their view of female issues, have been a little hit or miss. But when Bee is on, she stings and is very funny.
• I’m rooting for the movie “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe’s investigation of the sexual abuses covered up by the Catholic Church to win the Academy Award as Best Picture. It certainly is the best picture I’ve seen about print journalism in decades. It got just about all the details working at a newspaper down beautifully, including how reporters dress. Many of us are, shall I say, sartorially challenged to the disappointment of our loved ones. When I went with my girlfriend, I told her, “See? That’s how we dress.”
• It is almost time for March Madness, which means it is time to remind you that the men’s semifinals and basketball championship game in the NCAA tournament will be carried for the first time this year on cable’s TBS and not CBS.