TV Article

Reality Hertz

O.J. is the unwitting subject of new reality series. Without his permission , producers filmed 13 episodes of material from the Juice's public appearances over the past two years

Are you ready for O.J. Simpson: The Reality Show? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Urban America Television Network, a Texas-based syndicator, has in the can 13 weeks worth of episodes, shot during the last two years, which will premiere in June on the network's 75 independent broadcast outlets, which reach 22 million homes. The network is billing the program as an ''Osbournes''-like look at a celebrity's daily life, but the Juice's camp says it's more like ''The Truman Show,'' since it consists of footage shot without Simpson's permission.

The show, created by a production company called Spiderboy International, is culled from 60 hours of film, consisting largely of Simpson's onstage and backstage footage from his public appearances as an emcee at various rap concerts in 2001 and 2002, Spiderboy founder Norman Pardo told the New York Post. (In other words, don't expect too many scenes of O.J. looking for the real killers.) ''We do have a program that has a lot of body to it and shows different sides of Mr. Simpson,'' Urban America executive producer David Simon told the Post.

''This is a joke," Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galander, told the Post. ''There is no agreement between [the filmmakers] and the O.J. Simpson team to do anything.'' Galander, who said Simpson received no money from the production, said he doubted the show would ever air because Pardo ''has no money. The network has no money. They don't have a producer, director or narrator.'' However, he said, ''If it aired and if somebody actually paid money to a network for TV time, then I'd sue to garnish that payment.'' Urban America's Simon responded that Galander can't sue because ''Spiderboy owns the footage on Mr. Simpson.'' Of course, if Simpson is not profiting from the show, that means the Brown and Goldman families probably can't sue, either.

Originally posted Apr 23, 2003