DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST YOUR SET. You have entered the O.J. omniverse, the court of first, last and only resort. Settle in. You’re not leaving, unless Judge Ito—He Who Must Be Obeyed—decides to pull the plug on TV for good.
While all channels rely on the same feed, that image is being packaged with real diversity. Turn to cable for the obsessive outlook. Court TV, which nearly cooked its own goose on day one by inadvertently showing the face of an alternate juror, offers the most intense and intensive view—gavel-to-gavel coverage, along with in-depth analysis. Inexplicably, the showbiz channel E! is also showing the entire trial, anchored by weight-loss pitchwoman Kathleen Sullivan. CNN provides its usual fastidious, albeit faceless, perspective.
Among the networks, the early winner is NBC. The peacock network has combined the most devoted and aggressive coverage of the trial with the deepest bench of expert correspondents. The most articulate network analysts have been a pair of Court TV fugitives: ABC’s Cynthia McFadden (see box) and NBC’s Jack Ford. Even they slip up. For instance, during one segment, McFadden repeatedly referred to footballer Marcus Allen as Marcus Garvey.
For the casual follower of this legal spectacle, any channel will do. For the hardcore armchair jurist, Court TV is the way to go. Me, I’ll stick with CNN and (believe it or not) Fox, which among all the TV alternatives offer the plainest courtroom feeds with the least intrusive cross talk. As a serious O.J. junkie, I like my trial unfiltered.