Fox TV's schedule for the week of Nov. 26, which did not yet reflect the canceled Simpson programs shortly after they were pulled.
News Corp, the corporate parent of the broadcast network that brought you "The Littlest Groom," Temptation Island" -- I, II and III -- and "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee," has decided that pimping O.J. Simpson's tell-nothing fantasy non-confessional book and Fox TV interview just goes too far.
At last, we have found a bottom.
"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."There had been some backlash from some Fox affiliates, who said they would not air the show, and tons of criticism, from expected and unexpected places. With no obvious connection to his life other than his folksy contempt for things vile, CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer used his "Face the Nation" commentary last Sunday to say that until the latest Simpson saga "I thought the Congressional Page scandal would surely win the most disgusting story of the year prize."
Fox News stars Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Riviera also felt just fine biting the hand that feeds them. (Of course O'Reilly couldn't resist accusing what he calls the "so-called 'media elite'" of underplaying the story).
With friends like these, pitchforks and torches can't be far behind.
This whole thing was doomed from the start, of course, even though in the midst of the firestorm Barnes and Noble and Borders said they would carry the book. When I was a reporter in New York City in 1989 Barnes and Noble wasn't even stocking "The Satanic Verses" when Salman Rushdie was first under a death threat from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. Times change, I guess.
What remains astonishing about this entire, thankfully brief episode is how these projects percolated up and down the food chain for so long -- how long? -- only to be squashed days before they saw the light of day.
Did every insider underestimate the potential for revulsion? Is it even remotely possible that Janet Regan can survive this?