Pay-per-view outlets balked, so O.J. Simpson agreed to grant his first extensive interview since his acquittal to NBC - in a live, no-holds-barred discussion to air Wednesday night.
Simpson will be interviewed by Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric in the middle of a special three-hour broadcast of "Dateline NBC." The ex-football star won't be paid by the network, which once employed him as a sports commentator.The hourlong segment will run commercial-free, and regular commercial rates will apply for the rest of the show.
"NBC will not profit from this interview," network spokeswoman Beth Comstock said Monday.
Simpson, 48, was acquitted last Tuesday in the June 12, 1994, knife killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. O.J. Simpson did not testify during the trial.
Since his acquittal, he has made few public comments. He spoke briefly by phone last week on CNN's "Larry King Live."
NBC News President Andrew Lack negotiated by phone over the weekend with Simpson's representatives and then Simpson to secure the interview. The network said it agreed to no preconditions.
Some cable TV operators had rebelled at the idea of a pay-per-view interview that could have earned Simpson millions of dollars.
Simpson has long had ties to NBC. In addition to being a network football commentator, he counted among his supporters NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer, who visited Simpson in jail.
"I think that his decision to speak with NBC certainly reflects his belief that they've been fair in their coverage of the case," Simpson defense attorney Carl Douglas said.
Meanwhile, NBC's announcement of the interview drew sharp responses from the victims' fathers.
"I don't want to watch, but I'm curious as to what more lies he may be telling," Lou Brown told KNBC-TV. He told the station he wouldn't watch, as did Fred Goldman.
"I'm not going to watch it, I'm not going to give it any credence," Goldman said.
Some women's rights advocates criticized the network.
"NBC . . . will essentially be handing over the network to an admitted batterer and a man whose DNA was found at the scene of two of the most brutal murders my generation has seen," said Tammy Bruce, head of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Also Monday, sources told The Associated Press that Simpson's girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, has been at home in Florida and not off marrying Simpson in the Dominican Republic, as a newspaper there reported.
Douglas denied as "totally false" the wedding report in Listin Diario, the same paper that accurately reported the wedding of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley.
Meanwhile, Simpson trial juror David Aldana disclosed that he kept a journal during the trial and is trying to sell the material for a book or movie, his attorney, Gary Brown, said Monday.
"We are entertaining offers in that area. He has an interest in telling his story," Brown said.
Aldana, Juror No. 4, is the first of the final 12 jurors and two alternates known to have kept a journal, a precarious practice that could open him up to a juror misconduct probe.