Tell us your story and share your memories in the comments below so we can read them on air during the segment on Tuesday, June 17!
The 24-hour news cycle, court TV, reality TV — all these television phenomena, you could argue, were born on one summer afternoon in 1994.
O.J. Simpson, an actor and former NFL star, was spotted by police in his white Ford Bronco at approximately 6:45 p.m. on June 17, 1994. The cops had been looking for Simpson, who went missing after being charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her alleged lover, Ronald Goldman.
What ensued was a low-speed car chase that went on for 60 miles and countless hours that changed the course of broadcast television. CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN interrupted regular programming to broadcast the chase live. News helicopters were deployed, legal analysts providing an endless stream of commentary were used.
Even major sports events, including Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Rockets and the Knicks, as well as the World Cup opener in Chicago, had to take a backseat to what was a bona-fide live television event. Some 95 million viewers watched the OJ Chase, and pizza chain Domino’s reported record sales that evening.
Where were you 20 years ago? What do you remember about the televised chase?
Howard Rosenberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning former television critic for the Los Angeles Times and he’s the author of numerous books including “The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle,” (Continuum, 2008) which he co-authored with Charles Feldman
Michael Socolow, Associate Professor, Communication and Journalism, the University of Maine. Socolow was the evening Assignment Editor at CNN in Los Angeles during the night of the chase. He wrote about the experience in a piece for Medium