August 22, 1994

By Stephen Battaglio and Donna Parker

The Hollywood Reporter

Fox Broadcasting Co. has decided against running its TV movie on O. J. Simpson before he stands trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Sources close to the network said Fox Inc. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch made the decision to delay the broadcast based on concern that it could make it difficult for Mr. Simpson to get a fair trial.

Fox had set the TV movie to kick off its new Tuesday night movie slate on Sept. 13, one week before Mr. Simpson is scheduled to stand trial on charges of first-degree murder.

Attorney Robert Shapiro, the head of Mr. Simpson’s defense team, made a public plea to Fox, asking that the movie not air until a jury verdict was reached.

Fox responded by saying it was going ahead with its airdate and by doing so was exercising its First Amendment rights. Fox also insisted the project, based on public record, would make no conclusion about Mr. Simpson’s guilt or innocence.

Fox publicity has described the movie as a “look into the life of the former football superstar” that “dramatizes the tumultuous relationship” between Mr. Simpson and his ex-wife. It will also depict events leading to his surrender to police.

However, Fox apparently had a change of heart, possibly fearing the bad publicity that might ensue if the TV movie affected the outcome of the trial in some way.