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You might think Oprah Winfrey – who recently wrapped an historic 25 years atop the daytime talk show ladder – would have snagged everyone she wanted for her couch tête-à-têtes. But no. There are two people Winfrey is still determined to land: Susan Smith and O.J. Simpson.
Appearing at NCTA’s annual Cable Show in Chicago, Winfrey said she has her sights set on Smith and Simpson for Oprah’s Next Chapter, her upcoming interview show on OWN.
“I have a dream of O.J. Simpson confessing to me,” said Winfrey to voluble cheers from the crowd at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. “And I am going to make that happen people.”
“I don’t just want the interview,” she continued. “I want the interview on the condition that you are ready, Mr. Simpson.”
Investigation Discovery’s Paula Zahn interviewed Winfrey for Thursday’s marquee session. And Winfrey stressed that she is now fully committed to growing OWN after a rocky start that recently saw CEO Christina Norman ousted.
“This really is the moment I’ve been waiting for,” said Winfrey. “I have the ability to commit my full energy.”
Oprah’s Next Chapter is set to launch in January. And Winfrey noted that she has tried over the years to get both Simpson – who was acquitted of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson – and Smith, who is serving a life sentence in South Carolina for murdering her two sons – on her syndicated show.
If Winfrey does land a Simpson confession (a goal she characterized as not “that lofty”), she will have succeeded where numerous others have spectacularly failed.
Former HarperCollins publisher Judith Regan reportedly secured just such a confession from Simpson for a proposed book and Fox television special. But the outcry over “If I Did It…” grew so vociferous that Fox and HarperCollins were forced to scrap the project. Regan was ousted from the News Corp. imprint later that year.
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