O.J. SIMPSON'S NBC INTERVIEW NOT PART OF "QUID PRO QUO"
NBC News will conduct a live interview with O.J. Simpson on
Wednesday night during a three-hour "Dateline" special. The
interview, which will be conducted by Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric
and air without commercial interruption, will have "no ground
rules" and was agreed upon without payment of any kind, according
to NBC News President Andrew Lack (NBC). In L.A., Sallie
Hofmeister and Jane Hall note Simpson's "personal and
professional ties" to NBC. Before his arrest, Simpson was an
analyst on NBC's NFL broadcasts and NBC West Coast President Don
Ohlmeyer is a longtime friend. But NBC VP/Corporate
Communications Judy Smith said, "There is no quid pro quo for
this interview. We have no contact with O.J. and no plans to
hire him." Network sources say it was NBC President Robert
Wright's decision not to sell ads during the interview. The show
has already drawn complaints by groups such as NOW with
opposition to the idea of Simpson profiting from the trial
already leading cable channels and pay-per-view outlets to
rejecting the idea of a PPV Simpson interview. Talent agency ICM
also confirmed Monday that they no longer represent Simpson (L.A.
THE O.J. INDUSTRY: Media critic Ben Bagdikian: "It sounds
as though the trial that was a soap opera is now going to be an
industry" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/10). The price tag on an "O.J.
exclusive" was said to be in the range of $11-12M, even though
potential ad revenue is seen as "nil" (J. Max Robins, VARIETY,
10/9). AD AGE estimates a pay-per-view event could have
generated numbers seen only by heavyweight bouts -- $50 per order
with buy rates between 500,000 and 1 million. In addition,
analysts believe Simpson-related marketing could generate as much
as $1B in gross media and merchandising sales. Mark Weiner, Dir
of Research for Medialink Public Relations, on the other big
media events of '95 -- Windows '95 and Disney/Cap Cities: "Those
were huge stories, but they lasted for about a week. The O.J.
Simpson story sustained that level for 11 months. This has just
dwarfed anything we've seen since the Vietnam War" (Mandese &
Jensen, ADVERTISING AGE, 10/9 issue).
FUTURE HOME? "Entertainment Tonight" reported on O.J.'s
future, with Black Entertainment Television possibly interested.
BET President Robert Johnson: "In the black community, there is
a concept of redemption. So I think O.J. has an avenue where he
can comeback to the mainstream of commercial success" ("ET,"