Barbara Walters Might Have Interviewed O.j., Says Report
Despite her previous assertions that she had turned down an interview with O.J. Simpson about his book If I Did It, Barbara Walters had in fact expressed interest in conducting the interview but was overridden by ABC News, the New York Observer reported today (Wednesday), citing sources, three of whom work at the network. The book's publisher, Judith Regan, then suggested that the interview be handled through the network's entertainment division, instead of ABC News, so that it could get on the air before the book was published at the end of this month. However, said the Observer, the unit would not commit to airing it before the interview was actually completed. Walters, however, already had another special, "30 Mistakes in 30 Years," set to air on the network and was working on integrating Rosie O'Donnell into The View and finding a replacement for Star Jones on that program. After 10 days, she decided to pass on the interview, according to the weekly. At that point, it said, Regan took the project to Fox, proposing that she conduct the interview herself. Top Fox executives participated in the negotiations, and News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch was kept fully informed, but Fox News chief Roger Ailes was not informed until hours before the announcement went out, the Observer article claims, and allowed his top talent, including Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera to condemn the broadcast -- and O'Reilly to propose a boycott of advertisers on the program. On Monday, Murdoch ordered that the interview and the publication of the book be canceled. As yet there has been no indication whether the $3.5 million that the publisher had reportedly agreed to pay for it would in fact be paid.