Pulling the Plug on O.J.

The O.J. Simpson project entitled "If I Did It" is done. The interview won't air. The book won't hit store shelves.

The book was a strange, morbid work of historical fiction in which Simpson described how he would have murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman had he been the killer.

It was not a confession, but a hypothetical tell-all.

Fox Broadcasting, the sister company of Simpson's publisher, Harper Collins, was set to broadcast a two-hour interview featuring Simpson.

The combination of primetime television hours and a presumably chart-topping book would have made millions for parent company News Corp. and Simpson.

A clip of the canceled interview quotes Simpson in the book saying, "I have never seen so much blood in my life."

The interview was set to run next week during November sweeps, the period when networks try to capture their highest ratings, which set rates for advertisers. The book was scheduled to come out Nov. 30.

But then, in the face of intense public backlash against the project, the man behind the deal called the whole thing off.

In a statement on Monday, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said, "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project."

Murdoch also conveyed his apologies for the project's emotional fallout.

"We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."

Money Matters

Simpson was given an advance for the project. Although the exact amount had not been made public, early reports said the entire book deal was worth $3.5 million.

Simpson won't be keeping a dime of it if the Goldman family has its way. When asked whether he'd be heading to court in an attempt to get some of Simpson's earnings from the projects, Fred Goldman, the father of murder victim Ron Goldman, said, "Oh yeah, absolutely."

According to a 1997 civil lawsuit decision, Simpson owes $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths of Goldman and Brown Simpson.

"He's going to have barking dogs on his behind for the rest of his life," Goldman said. "The bottom line is it's our only way to punish the SOB."

Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, says Simpson will keep the advance despite the canceled interview and book release.

Galanter also told ABC News that any money Simpson received to date had gone to his children.

Legal experts told ABC News that by giving any income from the book to his children, Simpson made it more difficult for the Goldman family to collect any of the proceeds.

Simpson did not write the book himself; ghostwriters penned it for him. When ABC News asked Fred Goldman whether he found that surprising, Goldman said, "He's probably not smart enough to do it [himself]."

O.J. 'Indifferent' to the Canceled Project

Simpson was indifferent when he heard that the project had been canceled, his attorney said.

"He was not angry or surprised, just indifferent," Galanter told ABC News.

Fred Goldman's reaction was, predictably, quite different.

"I was thrilled," Goldman said hours after the decision. "We're happy that News Corp. did the right decision and undid something they shouldn't have done in the first place."

Galanter shared Goldman's sentiments.

"I am thrilled," Galanter said. "I was against this project. It was in bad taste, and I am glad it is being canceled."

Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman's sister, issued a statement saying that she was shocked when she learned of the cancellation, but she called Fox's turnaround the responsible choice and the right thing to do.

"I think the bottom line is that everyone was outraged," Fred Goldman said. "Thanks to the American public for standing up for what's right."

Harsh Words for Fox

Over the last week, America reacted to the project with furor. Along with the public outrage came mounting criticism of the project from both inside and outside the Fox network.

A dozen Fox affiliates refused to air it.

Even the face of Fox News, television host Bill O'Reilly, railed against it.

"You know it's all about money," O'Reilly said on his broadcast "The O'Reilly Factor."

"I don't know what they were thinking, but certainly anything they were thinking started with the dollar sign," Ken Auletta of The New Yorker told ABC News.

Dominick Dunne, the famed Vanity Fair writer who believes Simpson is guilty of the slayings, applauded Murdoch's cancellation of the book and television special.

"I'm ecstatic," said Dunne, who had a daily courtroom seat at the Simpson criminal trial. "I admire what Rupert Murdoch did today. The statement he made was excellent. He had the great courtesy to apologize to the Goldman and Brown families."

On ABC News' "20/20" last Friday, Dunne criticized the book and interview, saying "I'm blaming [publisher] Judith [Regan] and Rupert Murdoch and Fox for exploiting this, and I think they're cheapening themselves."

After the project cancellation, Dunne still had harsh words for Regan.

"Judith Regan got rebuked heavily, and it was tacky to use the excuse that she had been abused herself," he said.

Book's Secrets Still Revealed?

Despite the controversy, Americans were lining up to read "If I Did It."

By Sunday, preorders had put it in the Top 15 best-selling books on Amazon.com.

One source told ABC News that 400,000 copies of the book had already been printed, though it's unclear whether those books have been shipped.

According to The Associated Press, HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum said some copies had already been shipped to stores. However, she said, they would be recalled, and all copies would be destroyed.

But those curious about what Simpson had to say might still get their fill. While his book may never hit the shelves officially, don't be surprised if they become downloadable content on the Internet, some media experts say.

The pull of an intrigued public will draw out at least some of the canceled content, said Robert Thompson, founding director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.

"It's not going to be at the end of November, but these tapes will be seen. ... This book will be published in one form or another," Thompson said. "This little project is going to rear its ugly, little head again before this is all over."

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