“The Juice” may soon be loose. O.J. Simpson is expected to be released from prison later this year, and the disgraced former NFL running back and onetime movie star — who has recently been the focus of a number of high-profile TV projects — may be headed back to television.
Even as he wallows in a Nevada correctional facility doing time in connection with a 2007 Las Vegas hotel robbery, the polarizing figure has never been far from the public eye. Last year he was the focal point of FX’s nine-time Emmy-winning miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” and ESPN’s acclaimed documentary series “O.J.: Made in America,” among other projects.
“Simpson could be out of the Nevada penitentiary where he’s serving 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping as early as October,” The Hollywood Reporter notes. “Many in the industry think a reality show might soon follow.”
There’s precedent for an O.J. reality show. THR notes that Simpson “made several attempts at finding a TV vehicle in pay-per-view before his 2008 incarceration. One that made it to air, ‘Juiced,’ was a hidden-camera show in which Simpson put on prosthetics and pranked unsuspecting guests. It was not a financial success.”
The Wikipedia description of “Juiced” offers some possible clues to the show’s failure. Part of it reads: “Typical of the genre, Simpson would play a prank on everyday people while secretly filming them and at the end of each prank, he would shout, ‘You’ve been Juiced!’ Less typical, each episode opened with topless strippers dancing around Simpson, who is dressed as a pimp. He sings his own rap song, which includes the lyrics ‘Don’t you know there’s no stopping the Juice / When I’m on the floor I’m like a lion on the loose / Better shoot me with a tranquilizer dart / Don’t be stupid, I’m not a Simpson named Bart.'”
The THR report notes that any new TV project involving Simpson would have to deal with the possibility of reluctance on the part of advertisers. “A more pressing concern from producers, however, is whether a grizzled 69-year-old Simpson is even compelling,” THR adds.
The report quotes David Lyle, president of producers consortium PactUS, saying: “The last time I saw him interviewed, he was what I’d call bad television. So I don’t think he’s going to be giving the Kardashians a run for their money — unless he married one, I suppose.”