OJ Out, Libby In, As Fox Looks To Make Lemonade Out Of Their Lemons
Regan Snares Cheney Aide For “If I Leaked ...” Special; No Hush Money But Donation Made To Defense Fund
It may not get the ratings they initially anticipated, but it appears that News Corp, and their Fox Network, if they haven’t jumped out of the frying pan, at least turned it down to a low simmer.
Following a conflagration of condemnation for planning to air a two-hour special next week of the civil court-convicted murderer O.J. Simpson - "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened" and followed by a book of the same title, published by Judith Regan, of another News Corp. property, the ReganBooks division of HarperCollins, News Corp. Chairman and CEO Ruppert Murdoch cancelled both projects.
Sources have told The Garlic that Murdoch’s actions came only after Regan came to him with a last-minute replacement.
Running with mainly archival footage from the Fox News Division, and a hastily strung together outline of a novel by Lewis himself, the Fox Network will run “If I Leaked ... Here’s How I Would Have Exposed Covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame” over the same two-days they planned for the Simpson special.
“This is really making lemonade out of lemons,” offered Eddie Mars, editor of Please Shoot Me, the newsletter that tracks the
“Since this is, pretty much, out there in the public domain,” added Mars, “Fox doesn’t have to offer hush money to the family of Plame and they can still score some decent ratings for the Sweeps.”
Unlike the OJ Special, Libby’s faux Tell-All is being picked up by all the Fox affiliates and, according to a Fox spokesperson, “even non-affiliates are contacting us, asking if they can get the feed.”
ReganBooks will also publish “If I Leaked ... Here’s How I Would Have Exposed Covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame”, though it won’t be ready the day after the special ends, as was planned with the Simpson book.
Regan, who stated she had a personal reason for going with the Simpson television special and book, says she also has a “personal connection” to the Libby case. Regan, in a brief statement alluded to “being exposed and hurt by leaks” and, over the past 24-hours, developing a “strong bond with Mr. Libby.”
Libby’s book will be released, timed, for maximum exposure, the day Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff goes on trial in January, on three indictments for lying to investigators in the Plame Leak Case.
Unconfirmed reports cite that the Fox Network has made a “sizable donation” to the Libby Legal Defense Trust, and as a condition for the access to Libby’s papers and book, former colleague on the White House Iraq Group , and advisor to the Vice President, Mary Matalin will have a “unspecified role” in the television special.
Matalin would offer no comment beyond that “this will really put a punch in our solicitation letters for Scooter.”
Regan, reportedly, attempted to first, along with Libby, sign Vice President Dick Cheney for a special, “If I Was Drunk, Here’s I Would Have Shot My Friend”, however the Vice President’s office turned down the offer.
Regan, though, may have yet another plum for the Fox Network.
Reports say she is close to signing former Seinfeld star Michael Richards, for a television special and book deal that will run in the February 2007 Sweeps, tentatively titled “If I Were A Racist, This Is Now I Would Insult African Americans”
It remains to be seen who is being taken for a ride, with the planned Fox Network-Judith Regan “If I Leaked ... Here’s How I Would Have Exposed Covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame” Scooter Libby Special, a last-minute replacement for the condemned O.J. Simpson program