Monday, June 17, 2024

TV: OJ Confession Special Largely Ignored, ABC “American Idol” Return Down 23% from Last Show on Fox


Last night’s TV ratings left a lot to be desired when it came to splashy spectaculars.

“American Idol”‘s return to TV on ABC was good enough. Around 10 million people tuned into the show now with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. This was down 23% from the finale on Fox in 2016. Unless “American Idol” really hooks a couple of exciting players, it’s going to be one story after another about listless ratings. Plus, they’ve got the Ryan Seacrest problem– although I do see they’re minimizing him in the marketing. His name isn’t even mentioned in radio commercials.

But “Idol” was a SMASH hit compared to the OJ Simpson confession show on Fox. With Judith Regan raking over old coals from 2006, “If I Did It” only scored 4 million viewers. Pretty much everyone knows OJ did it and they’re tired of hearing about it. Plus, the whole set up of this thing was unremarkable. The “If I Did It” book already had all this information and is still available on Amazon.

Plus, it’s not clear who was making money here. The Goldmans own the rights to “If I Did It.” Kim Goldman made it clear she approved this showing–so it’s altogether possible she made some of the dough last night. Simpson doesn’t own the rights. The Goldmans picked up the rights in a Florida bankruptcy proceeding against OJ and published it themselves.

The more interesting story is how Judith Regan lost her job with NewsCorp/FoxNews/Harper & Collins for paying OJ over a million bucks for the book. Then she published a book by Mickey Mantle’s former mistress. The bad press she brought to Rupert Murdoch’s empire was huge, and they kicked her out. She could have talked about that and her own affair with former disgraced police commish Bernie Kerik. Now that’s a special!

When I was at Fox News, we never understood why one day when Regan claimed to have lost her wallet in the makeup room, she was able to summon the NYPD. They questioned everyone in the make up and hair department about who took Judith’s purse. Later, we all found out about her and Kerik. Talk about overkill, or abuse of power. Funny stuff!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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