O.J. Simpson is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008. But the former football star could be free as early as this October. According to TMZ, if that happens, reality TV producers will be scrambling to sign him.
The website reports that, after reaching out to various players in the reality TV industry, reactions ranged from some “recoiling in disgust” at the idea of working with him, to those eager to capitalize on his infamy.
Given the often-exploitative nature of reality TV, combined with recent renewed interest in Simpson — thanks to several projects from 2016 including FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” — this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Simpson is no stranger to reality TV. He once starred in a super low-budget rip-off of “Punk’d” called “Juiced,” which aired in the decade after he was acquitted in the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
Those who watched the Oscar-winning doc “O.J.: Made In America” might remember clips of the prank show, filmed during Simpson’s time living in Florida. These clips felt like the darkest part of the documentary, which is strange, given much of the film dealt with a horrific and brutal murder.
There was also Simpson’s memoir, If I Did It, where he outlined how he would have hypothetically killed Brown and Goldman were he the murderer. Reviews of the ghost-written book (published by the family of Goldman, who seized the manuscript as part of a lawsuit payout) said that it essentially amounted to a confession. The former athlete also shot a TV special with Fox, which never aired due to public outcry.
The producers TMZ spoke with say they know someone in the industry will probably attempt to re-create that unaired TV special. However, they acknowledged there would also be concerns that any project with Simpson could provoke public outrage, which could mean a harder time getting the show picked up on a network or cable channel — and finding willing advertisers.
Of course, given what’s already on TV today, it’s safe to say there’s definitely someone out there willing to give Simpson his own reality show.