On Thursday, O.J. Simpson will appear on a video call from Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada and explain to a parole board why he should get out of prison nine years into a sentence that included a 33-year maximum penalty.
Well according to The Wrap, multiple television stations, including ESPN, will televise the hearing. Additionally, Jeremy Schaap will reportedly host a 90-minute Outside the Lines special Thursday leading up to the hearing.
Simpson was convicted in 2008 on kidnapping and armed robbery charges after attempting to seize memorabilia he claimed belonged to him. Many observers felt the charges (and thus the sentence) were overly harsh and that prosecutors were compensating for Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the murder of his wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman.
An article by Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann and L. Jon Wertheim published in February concluded that Simpson has a high chance of parole based on Nevada’s stated criteria. If Simpson, who was already granted parole on some of his charges in 2013, is paroled again, he will be released from prison in October but will still have to meet with a parole officer and submit to other conditions.
Given how much attention Simpson’s legal sagas have received at every step of his two trials, Thursday’s hearing will likely be a big draw for ESPN and whatever other networks air it. It will also be a convenient cross-promotional opportunity for ESPN, which will likely take every opportunity to plug its Oscar-winning 2016 documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” which was recently nominated for six Emmys.
There have already been rumblings that TV executives will pursue Simpson for TV specials when he is released. It has been 38 years since Simpson retired from the NFL and 23 years since he was accused of killing his wife, but he’s still finding his way onto our television sets.