In 2006, O.J. Simpson sat down with noted publisher, producer and host Judith Regan for a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred interview, in which Simpson gives a shocking hypothetical account of the events that occurred on the night his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were brutally murdered. During their conversation, Simpson, in his own words, offers a detailed – and disturbing – description of what might have happened on that fateful night of June 12, 1994.
Publisher and TV/film producer Judith Regan; attorney Christopher Darden; Nicole Brown Simpson family representative Eve Shakti Chen; anti-domestic violence advocate Rita Smith; and retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente will serve as analysts on the shocking special O.J. SIMPSON: THE LOST CONFESSION? For over a decade, the tapes of that infamous interview were lost – until now. Simpson’s explosive words finally will be heard, as he answers the questions that gripped a nation during the notorious “Trial of the Century.” Hosted by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, the shocking special O.J. SIMPSON: THE LOST CONFESSION? will air Sunday, March 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The two-hour broadcast will air with limited interruptions and will feature public service announcements on domestic violence awareness throughout the program. Additionally, O’Brien will be joined by a panel of analysts who will discuss the historic and newsworthy interview, providing timely analysis and context for this shocking, never-before-seen footage.
We spoke with O’Brien ahead of tonight’s special. Read our exclusive interview below:
This interview could have stayed in the archives, so way is now the best time for it to be released?
Soledad O’Brien: 2006 was not a not a good time because the family members did not support the project, but that’s changed dramatically. Now they do support it, and I think what’s changed is they feel that there is a benefit to everyone hearing O.J. Simpson in his own words do something that they’ve never heard before, which is to talk about what happened on the day of the murders. So I think a lot has changed in the last 12 years. The first questions I asked were “How does his family feel about this information coming out?” and “Are they sure they are supportive of the project?”, which made me even more interested in taking part.
How does this interview differentiate itself from the others? Do you believe that this interview revealed something different?
Soledad O’Brien: Oh my gosh, you know, I covered O.J. Simpson my first full year working as an on-air reporter and have done a lot of reporting on O.J. Simpson, so I would put myself in the category of someone who has seen absolutely everything. This is completely different. This is the first time you hear from him about his relationship with his ex-wife, you hear from him about how he describes, hypothetically, what happens the day of the murders, you have him walk through the vivid details, and it is just bizarre. It’s really one of the craziest interviews I’ve ever been a part of in my entire life
What were you doing during the actual national attention of the O.J. trial in the 1990s?
Soledad O’Brien: My very first job as a reporter–I started working in TV in 1989–when I got my first reporting gig in October of ‘93, working at the NBC affiliate in San Francisco, which was KRON-TV, which is no longer an NBC affiliate. I was a brand new junior reporter, and that meant for the first year I focused on just learning how to be a reporter, and then when the trial happened, I got to talk with, obviously, the local PD, so local angle on the trial was because O.J. Simpson had a strong San Francisco connection, that meant even a lot to his family, and it was all over the trial.
Why do you think Judith Regan was not more aggressive and demanding when questioning OJ? Do you think this may have been done intentionally?
Soledad O’Brien: You know what’s interesting? That’s one of the very first questions I asked… and I wouldn’t say aggressive as much as follow-up, and she said to me, “I was so worried that he was going to fold out of a chair–several times he thought about just getting up and leaving–that I knew if I pushed back on him, he would just leave the interview altogether.” So I think her tone was sort of like, “Uh huh, uh huh, then what happened next?”, and she felt that if she challenged and pushed back, that would put the entire interview at jeopardy, I think there’s a lot of validity to that.
Why do you think O.J. has not publicly talked about being guilty in the civil court case?
Soledad O’Brien: That’s a really good question, and I think OJ Simpson talks about the things that make OJ Simpson look great. I think one thing you’ll see in this interview is how he views himself and his ego is really obvious and in some cases strange and bizarre. You just get a lot of insight into how he thinks about himself, how he thought about his relationship with his wife, and again, just walking through this day, even the tone of his description is really strange.
What is the message you want the audience to get from this documentary?
Soledad O’Brien: It’s funny, I’m always asked that for every documentary I’ve ever done, and I’ve done almost 50, and I have to say, I never go in with an intention. I try to take stories that I think are compelling and really win them to a wide audience and show people, with as little me as possible, “this is what this was about,” and I’m here to be the storyteller, or in this case, the moderator of the conversation. I think it’s so compelling, everyone is going to have their own takeaway, and I’m really interested in how people feel and think about what they’ve just seen and what it is because it is really just not like anything they’ve ever seen.