O.J. Simpson publisher Judith Regan fired

Updated: 2006-12-16 16:11

LOS ANGELES, Dec 15 - Weeks after News Corp. scrapped plans for a book and TV interview in which O.J. Simpson described how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend, the publisher behind the projects, Judith Regan, has been fired, HarperCollins said on Friday.

Word of Regan's dismissal from the News Corp.-owned publishing house came in a terse press release headlined "HarperCollins Terminates Judith Regan."

The statement said her termination was effective immediately. No explanation was given.

"The Regan publishing program and staff will continue as part of the HarperCollins General Books Group," the statement said.

Regan was not immediately available for comment.

The move followed ill-fated plans unveiled last month for a book, titled "If I Did It," and accompanying television interview featuring Simpson giving a hypothetical account of how he would have carried out the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

The book had been set for release by Regan's imprint at HarperCollins, ReganBooks, on November 30, following a two-part interview of Simpson by Regan on News Corp.'s Fox network.

But the publishing and TV venture drew a firestorm of criticism accusing News Corp. of seeking to capitalize on a human tragedy. Days after plans for the book and TV special were revealed, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch personally weighed in to announce both projects were being scrapped.

Murdoch said then that the book and TV deal were "ill-considered" and he apologized for any harm caused.

Simpson has always maintained that he was innocent and was acquitted of murder charges. But a civil court jury later found him liable for the deaths.

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