Season 2005 Episode 10.04.05

The O.J Verdict

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Oct 04, 2005 on PBS
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Episode Summary

The O.J Verdict
On October 3, 1995, an estimated 150 million people stopped what they were doing to witness the televised verdict of the O.J. Simpson trial. For more than a year, the O.J. saga transfixed the nation and dominated the public imagination. Ten years later, veteran FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel revisits the "perfect storm" that was the O.J. Simpson trial. Through extensive interviews with the defense, prosecution and journalists, FRONTLINE explores the verdict -- which, more than any other in recent history, measured the difference between being white and black in America. In the 372 days that the trial lasted, there was nothing that wasn't recorded, discussed and analyzed on television. The media frenzy spread from the National Enquirer to The New York Times, from burgeoning cable networks like CNN to ABC's Nightline. "One of the great ironies of the trial was that the National Enquirer reminded us what good, basic journalism is about," said Nightline anchor Ted Koppel. Koppel adds about Nightline coverage, "I felt a certain amount of embarrassment about doing it on a regular basis ... every time we did O.J. the ratings went up 10 percent." And as it turned out, the case would have a lasting impact on American media.moreless

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