The Fix

O.J. canceled. Kramer apologizes for outburst. Plus: Fox to launch "'The Daily Show' for conservatives."

Scott Lamb
November 21, 2006 7:30PM (UTC)

Morning Briefing:
O.J. gets canceled: Following widespread public outcry, Fox chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch announced Monday afternoon that O.J. Simpson's hypothetical murder-confession book, "If I Did It," will not be published, and the two-part television interview between Simpson and publisher Judith Regan, scheduled to run next week, will never air. "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," Murdoch said in a brief statement. "We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson." Fox cited the moral uproar surrounding the project, but as the vice president of one chain of Fox affiliates told the Washington Post, there was another compelling reason to can the TV special: "Advertiser reaction was a thousand-to-one, with people not wanting to be involved with it." (New York Times, Washington Post)

Kramer: In an awkward apology on Monday night's "Late Show With David Letterman," Michael Richards, who played Kramer on "Seinfeld," tried to explain what led to his hateful, N-word-filled tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club last week. "For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," Richards told Letterman, saying that he got angry at being heckled but that his remarks don't reflect some underlying racism: "I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this." (See a video of his apology here.) Jerry Seinfeld, who was a scheduled guest on "Letterman" Monday night and who introduced Richards' remarks, was also the first "Seinfeld" cast mate to respond, saying, "I am sick over this. It is so extremely offensive. I feel terrible for all the people who have been hurt." (CNN, Vidclick, Defamer)


The rise of TMZ: The New York Times' David Carr takes a look at celebrity news Web site in Tuesday's edition, noting that the odd stepchild of some AOL/Time Warner synergy has grown up quickly: "In October, TMZ, a site that did not exist one year earlier, was the No. 1 entertainment news site, with far more traffic than E! Online, and, a Time Warner site. (Oops, I guess there's the downside to synergy.)" Harvey Levin, a veteran TV reporter who helped create the site, says TMZ sticks to its sweet spots: "Britney is gold, she is crack to our readers. Her life is a complete train-wreck and I thank God for her every day." (N.Y. Times)

On the Michael Jackson affair: Salon was one of many news outlets to get a chastising e-mail Monday from a group of upset Michael Jackson fans who think the coverage of his recent brief, reportedly troubled appearance at the World Music Awards was unfair. Saying that Jackson was never scheduled to perform at the show in the first place, the note said, "The 'booing' was not for Michael Jackson's performance, it was simply because the fans did not want him to leave the stage. Additional fabrications, such as blaming him for delays in the program, and other nonsense like stage fright and crying were additional outlandish abuses and fabrications of journalism/freedom of the press." After rhetorically questioning where the story that Jackson broke down in the middle of his performance came from -- "One cannot help but wonder who was behooved to initiate such false statements (Jarvis Cocker?? Or other known enemies?)" -- the e-mail ends by asking journalists, "How would you like it if you were the subject in [Jackson's] place?"

Fox is collaborating with "24" co-creator Joel Surnow to develop a satirical news show geared to appeal to the political right, an as-yet unnamed show that Surnow describes as "'The Daily Show' for conservatives." (Variety) ... CBS is suing the Federal Communications Commission to challenge the $550,000 fine the FCC imposed for the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction in 2004 -- which CBS describes as the "unscripted, unauthorized and unintended long-distance shot of Ms. Jackson's breast for nine-sixteenths of one second." The network is arguing that it had no foreknowledge that the breast baring would happen and that the incident doesn't qualify as indecent. (Associated Press) ... At the top of the New York Times bestseller list for this week: "Dear John," by Nicholas Sparks (fiction) and Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" (nonfiction). (N.Y. Times) ... Britney Spears made the rounds in Las Vegas over the weekend -- after hanging out with Mario "A.C. Slater" Lopez on Saturday, she spent Sunday at various clubs with Paris Hilton. (D-Listed)

Turn On:
Tuesday's a big night for music, with the "2006 American Music Awards" (ABC, 8 p.m. EST), "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" (NBC, 8 p.m. EST) -- a tribute to the singer on his 80th birthday -- and a mini-documentary about the record that brought you "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Classic Albums: Queen -- A Night at the Opera" (VH1 Classic, 8 p.m. EST). Plus, Patricia Hearst guest-stars on "Veronica Mars" (CW, 9 p.m. EST).

On the Talk Shows:
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): Robert Hughes
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST): Hugh Jackman, Chris Elliott, NASCAR Nextel Cup winner Jimmie Johnson
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST): Denzel Washington, Catherine O'Hara, Jerry Lee Lewis with Kid Rock
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST): James Spader, Amy Sedaris, Robyn Hitchcock
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST): Emilio Estevez, Eva Pigford, Jim Short
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST): Teri Hatcher, Gary Brolsma, Rock Star Supernova
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST): Tina Fey (repeat)
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST): Dan Rather (repeat)

Scott Lamb

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at

MORE FROM Scott Lamb

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Michael Jackson

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •