Simpson, 70, was released on parole from Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada, after serving nearly a decade for a botched hotel room heist in Las Vegas.
He was famously found not guilty for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995 in the “trial of the century,” but later had a $33.5-million civil judgment levied against him in the 1997 wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Goldman and Brown families. (He hasn’t paid one cent to either family.)
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Clearly, in the first post-prison interview, Simpson would be facing a lot of hard questions. The problem is no networks are biting, and not just because of the reported seven-figure ask from Simpson’s reps; they’re balking because of the potential to lose advertisers. Despite Simpson’s acquittal in 1995, he carries with him decades of accusations and bad press, things which may turn off any prospective viewer, and in turn, advertisers.
One TV news veteran told the Hollywood Reporter that the interview deal is “treacherous,” and another said they wouldn’t touch it with a “10-foot pole.”
So far, most traditional media companies have passed on the Simpson offer, including major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC, which have emphasized that they’re not willing to pay, as it violates news division regulations. Even standalone cable TV is saying no: Discovery and A+E Networks have declined.
It seems like Simpson is doing his best to earn some cash, even if it means holding secret autograph sessions in Las Vegas. TMZ secured a photo of the former football great signing memorabilia in an unidentified hotel on Tuesday night, which will most likely end up going to auction.
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O.J. Simpson released on parole from Nevada prison
The problem with Simpson earning any money is that debtors will be on the hunt for it, since the original $33.5 million he owes to the Brown and Goldman families has ballooned to roughly $65 million because of interest, according to California collections lawyer David Cook. Cook has been representing the Goldman family for more than a decade.
Even $1 million from a hypothetical interview would be a drop in the bucket when it comes to the civil judgment.
Paired with advertiser uncertainty, it’s going to be a tough slog for Simpson’s reps to find a buyer.
“From a news perspective, it’s probably a get,” said Bill Carroll, a media consultant with the Katz Media Group. “From an advertiser’s perspective, it’s something that most, if not all, advertisers would stay away from.”
Unlike the last time Simpson went free, 22 years ago, he will face restrictions — up to five years of parole supervision — and he’s unlikely to escape public scrutiny as the man who morphed from charismatic football hero, movie star and TV personality into suspected killer and convicted armed robber.
His five years of parole supervision could be reduced with credits for good behaviour.
— With files from The Associated Press