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Fox Delays Simpson Movie Until Jurors Are Selected

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Fox Television Network said Friday that it will postpone the scheduled Sept. 13 showing of its quickie television movie “The O.J. Simpson Story” until after the jury is selected for Simpson’s murder trial.

The decision to postpone the film marked a reversal of Fox’s position last week to air the film despite the objections of Simpson’s attorney, Robert L. Shapiro, who said broadcasting the film would jeopardize the former football superstar’s right to a fair trial.

The Sept. 13 air date would have come a week before the start of Simpson’s trial on charges that he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman.

“We now have had an opportunity to review the final shooting script of ‘The O.J. Simpson Story,’ ” a statement by Fox said. “We are pleased with both the script and the production to date. However, after our internal assessment of the situation and after discussions with Mr. Simpson’s counsel, we have decided to postpone the Sept. 13 broadcast of ‘The O.J. Simpson Story’ until after the jury has been selected.”

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The statement continued, “We believe this is consistent with our stated policy to date, which has been to evaluate each stage of development of the movie in light of our responsibilities as broadcasters.”

Shapiro told Associated Press that he was pleased with Fox’s decision. “Much to their credit, they put the right of O.J. to have a fair trial ahead of their commercial venture and should be commended for being able to handle this with common sense,” he said Friday.

In response to Shapiro’s earlier protests, the network had maintained that the film would not deal with the guilt or innocence of the former football great and would be based strictly on public record.


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