As Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson” series wraps up its season on the FX network (after strong debut ratings earlier in the year), veteran actor Martin Sheen announced about 2 months ago that he was shopping around a true-crime series to TV networks that would unfold in a similar manner to Netflix’s hit series “Making a Murderer,” which will focus on alleged evidence that “exonerates” Simpson in the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Sheen’s series has now officially found a home as Investigation Discovery has picked up what will be a 6-part docu about the O.J. Simpson trial, which will be titled “Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent.”
Sheen is teaming up with Dallas-based investigator William Dear, who says he has spent 21 years collecting what he calls “hard evidence” that he believes exonerates Simpson of the double murders.
“People are fascinated with true crime. I know the time is right for people to look at this O.J. thing,” Dear told the New York Daily News earlier this year, adding that the project, like Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” will “raise doubts” about Simpson’s perceived guilt (although, unlike Steven Avery in “Making a Murderer,” Simpson was acquitted of the murders in 1995, avoiding prison time, and would later be found liable in a civil suit in which he was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ families).
“He [Sheen] and I are partners in this project,” Dear said, adding, “We recently did nine pitches, and he attended four of them… He’s a great guy to work with. If he didn’t believe in this, he wouldn’t do it.”
And about their proposed series, he shared the following: “It’s not going to be talking heads. These are going to be facts, not hearsay, not soft evidence but hard evidence… We have diaries. We have pictures of [another suspect that they believe was overlooked] wearing a cap that was found at the crime scene. We have the vehicle the suspect was driving. We have a witness. We feel very confident in what we’ve been able to put together.”
William Dear is also the author of the 2012 book “OJ is Innocent and I Can Prove It.”
No ETA on “Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent” although given the growing list of O.J. related TV projects premiering this year, I assume “Hard Evidence” will do the same.
Meanwhile, FX miniseries “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” has been a ratings winner for the network (also critically acclaimed), drawing over 5 million viewers for its first episode, which was a record for an FX original series premiere, suggesting that, 2 decades since Simpson’s acquittal, there very much still is interest in that particular case.
Simpson is currently serving a 9 to 33 year sentence for a Las Vegas armed robbery and kidnapping conviction. He’ll be eligible for parole in 2017.