Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trial by Cable E! Bends a Little Reality to Bring the O.J. Simpson Civil Proceedings to Television

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trial by Cable E! Bends a Little Reality to Bring the O.J. Simpson Civil Proceedings to Television

Article excerpt

Los Angeles - Seated on a couch, munching bagels and sipping orange juice, Daniel Petrocelli and Robert Baker, attorneys on opposite sides of the O.J. Simpson civil trial, are chumming it up. Next door, Simpson and plaintiff's attorney John Q. Kelly share a chuckle as they talk about the defendant's upcoming testimony.

Welcome to a parallel universe created by E! Entertainment Television, where opposing sides involved in the Civil Trial of the Century act, well, civil toward each other. These are not lawyers and an acquitted murder suspect. They just play them on television.

In real life, Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki banned cameras from the proceedings in Santa Monica Superior Court. So E!, not able to bring their cameras into the courtroom, decided to bring the courtroom to the cameras. The result is "The O.J. Simpson Civil Trial," airing every night at 5 p.m. and repeating at 10 p.m. The format is an hour-long show, about half of which is the day's crucial testimony performed by actors, and the rest tending toward remarks by legal analysts. When Simpson takes the stand, the show may be lengthened to two hours or more to show actors mimicking his testimony. E! says viewership for the 5 p.m. time slot is double what it was a year ago, when "The Gossip Show" and "Fashion File" filled the hour. To produce the show, E! has scouts in the courtroom a show host Greg Agnew and trial analyst Charles Rosenberg a to report such vital data as what the principals are wearing and what everyone's mood seems to be. During trial breaks, Agnew can be found in the hallway comparing notes with reporters and calling in findings on his cellular phone. The show decided not to send actors to the courthouse. "They told me not to go down there while this is on the air," said Stephen Wayne Eskridge, who plays Simpson. "They didn't want to turn it into the circus. It would be too weird." "I was really concerned when they said they would be doing re-enactments," Agnew said. "It's our reputation. The other reporters in the court will just rip us apart if it's bad." Once the information is gathered, it's an around-the-clock push to get the show together. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.