MURDOCH GIVETH, TAKETH AWAY
The decision by Rupert Murdoch to cancel the planned telecast of an interview with O.J. Simpson in which he "hypothetically" confesses to the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman received a mixed response on Monday. Daniel Petrocelli, the attorney who represented Fred Goldman in his civil suit against Simpson, said, "It took courage, having made a bad decision, for News Corp. to realize the error of their ways and pull the plug. News Corp. deserves credit for that." But poet/playwright Jayne Lyn Stahl, in a column on Arianna Huffington's blog, wrote: "What may [be] lost in the shuffle here is that one person, and one corporation, News Corp., has the power to pull the plug on a T.V. special, as well as the planned ... book. ... Few, if any, will lament the loss of the OJ book and interview, but make no mistake, unprecedented media, and newspaper consolidation poses the gravest threat to freedom of expression, and the First Amendment."
NOW TECHNICAL WOES FOR COURIC
As if growing criticism over the allegedly "soft" content of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and tumbling ratings for the show were not enough, Monday night's broadcast was plagued with a series of technical glitches that caused it to run short by some four minutes, according to the TVNewser website. The site quoted an emailer who wrote that on the first live feed of the newscast there was "bad tape and audio on an Elizabeth Palmer report from Baghdad. ... Then there was no audio on the final kicker piece, which was supposed to start a series on 'Giving.'" Couric apologized for the situation, but reportedly looked awkward as the theme music played and credits rolled to fill time at the end of the telecast.
CBS DEFENDS JANET JACKSON TELECAST
The notorious "wardrobe malfunction" that resulted in a fleeting glimpse of Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show took place without the knowledge of CBS, the network argued in a court filing on Monday that challenges the $550,000 imposed on it by the FCC for the incident. The 76-page legal brief also argued that the FCC had "failed to turn up even a shred of evidence suggesting that anyone at CBS participated" in devising the episode, which it blamed on Jackson and fellow performer Justin Timberlake. Furthermore, CBS contended, the broadcast itself could not be considered explicit or graphic and that the FCC, in punishing the network, had abandoned its previous position that "fleeting, isolated or unintended" scenes should not be regarded as indecent. The FCC responded by saying that CBS "continues to ignore the voices of millions of Americans, Congress and the commission by arguing that Janet Jackson's halftime performance was not indecent."
MICHAEL RICHARDS ACTS TO QUELL UPROAR OVER HIS "COMEDY" ACT
Hoping to quiet a possibly career-ending uproar, Michael Richards, who played Kramer on Seinfeld, appeared via satellite on David Letterman's Late Show Monday night to apologize for using the "n-word" in a shouting match with hecklers during a performance Friday night. "For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," Richards said. He explained that the hecklers had caused him to fly into a rage as they continued to interrupt his act. A videotape of the incident was posted on the TMZ.com website, which was the first to report on the Mel Gibson rant after his arrest last summer. In an article posted on Arianna Huffington's blog on Monday, black commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote that the increasingly random use of the "n-word" by black comedians was partly to blame for the incident. "The obsessive use of and the tortured defense of the word by so many blacks gave Richards the license to use the word without any thought that there'd be any blow back for doing it. He was terribly wrong and got publicly called out for it. The blacks that use and defend that word should be called out too. Who's willing to do that?" Hutchinson wrote.