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NATPE Finds Hole in Schedule After Fox Execs Bow Out

Nov 28, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Chris Pursell

NATPE officials said they are unlikely to fill an empty spot in the schedule for their January television syndication conference created by the withdrawal of Fox’s head of scheduling Preston Beckman and reality-show producer Mike Darnell.

Fox’s decision to pull Mr. Beckman and Mr. Darnell off the program for the National Association of Television Program Executive’s Las Vegas meeting followed an uproar last week over a special Mr. Darnell was planning to produce that would have featured O.J. Simpson discussing the murders of his ex-wife and a friend of hers. Mr. Simpson was acquitted of those killings in a criminal trial and found liable for the deaths in a civil proceeding.

“We understand Fox’s decision on this but we are disappointed,” said NATPE president and CEO Rick Feldman. “We hope Michael will come back to us in 2008, however we still have three days of terrific panels featuring some of the most creative people in the industry to look forward to.”

The O.J. Simpson interview, conducted by publisher Judith Regan, was slated to air on Monday Nov. 27 and Wednesday, Nov. 29, during the November sweeps. Mr. Beckman had defended the decision to air the special in numerous interviews.