Entertainment & Arts

OJ Simpson trial inspires US TV drama

OJ Simpson with his lead attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr during his 1995 trial
Image caption OJ Simpson consults with his lead attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr during his 1995 trial

The 1995 murder trial of former sports star turned convicted felon OJ Simpson is to be dramatised by the Fox network.

The series will recreate the arrest, trial and controversial acquittal of Simpson following the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

The TV series will be based on Jeffrey Toobin's 1997 book The Run of His Life: The People v OJ Simpson.

Simpson is currently serving a 33-year jail term for kidnap and armed robbery.

The 65-year-old was convicted in 2008 for his part in an armed raid on the Las Vegas hotel room of two sports memorabilia dealers.

According to Fox, Simpson's murder trial - often described as The Trial of the Century - "marked the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and the birth of reality television".

The series, it pledged, would boast "the non-stop plot of a courtroom thriller" and present "the story of the trial as it has never been told".

The series will be written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose previous collaborations include acclaimed film biopics of the director Ed Wood, the comedian Andy Kaufman and the adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

Image caption Richard Chamberlain starred in the original TV adaptation of Shogun

Fox is a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, which courted controversy in 2006 with plans to publish Simpson's book If I Did It and broadcast an interview with its author.

The plans were subsequently scrapped by Mr Murdoch, who apologised to the victims' families for what he described it as "an ill-considered project".

Fox has also announced plans for another 'event' series based on James Clavell's 1975 novel Shogun, previously adapted for television in 1980 with Richard Chamberlain in the lead role.

The new version, said the network, would be both "a classic for the ages" and "a star-crossed love story" that would explore feudal Japan through the story of a British sailor who becomes a samurai.

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