In October 1995, a week after the murder trial against him ended with a shocking not-guilty verdict, O.J. Simpson agreed to do a TV interview with NBC News. Then, only hours before the live sit-down, Simpson backed out. Now TMZ is reporting that Casey Anthony, whose trial over the murder of her daughter garnered media attention of the size of Simpson’s and her recent not-guilty verdict sparked a similar outcry, has too opted not to do a TV interview right away. That despite the fact that her lawyer had been negotiating with potential suitors for the past two weeks. Those negotiations were plagued by accusations of bidding by the networks’ TV divisions, prompting most of them to issue statements that they won’t pay for an interview with Anthony. You can’t blame the networks for going after Anthony — notoriety is a big audience draw. Barbara Walters’ 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky was seen by 74 million viewers, a record for a journalist’s interview. NBC News’ 1995 interview with Simpson had been projected to fetch Super Bowl-size audience of 90+ million.
I think Anthony is making the right decision by following Simpson’s example and opting to stay out of the limelight while emotions over her verdict are still so raw despite the temptation of a financial windfall. As one independent producer, who recently claimed he had offered Anthony $1 million for an interview, put it, “the one thing I explained to her was, ‘Remember, fame is fleeting, but infamy is even more fleeting,’ and I said, ‘Look, in six weeks you’ll be worth $100,000, not a million dollars.’ I was trying to explain that we’ve got to do it now.” In 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the murder of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman, NBC finally got its interview with the former football star. The ratings were not even remotely close to Super Bowl levels. As for potential suitors in the future, before Anthony’s trial, Oprah Winfrey, who is launching a new talk show on OWN next year, said that her dream is to have Simpson confess to her. She has now probably added Anthony to her wish list.