The media coverage of the trial of the century figured prominently in the hit FX mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson, which concluded its 10-episode run this week. Some of the coverage was from fictitious Los Angeles local media. But two real TV newsers did make the cut.
Larry King played himself in several episodes–interviewing guests including author Dominick Dunne, played by Robert Morse, in a mock-up of his old CNN studio. 1995 Larry King was a ringer for 2015 Larry King.
Then, in the second-to-last episode, Greta Van Susteren is shown in a CNN clip as prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden prepare for closing arguments. CNN would later hire Van Susteren to co-host the legal program Burden of Proof.
So, did Van Susteren watch?
“I was certain I would hate it,” she tells TVNewser. “I have said a million times ‘I am so over the OJ trial.’ And then, somehow I took the bait and decided to sample the first few minutes of the first episode and, within seconds, I was hooked and have watched to the end.”
The FX series was based on the 1997 book The Run of His Life, by Jeffrey Toobin, who covered the trial for The New Yorker, and often provided TV analysis. He joined CNN as senior legal analyst in 2002 when Van Susteren jumped to Fox News. Toobin was not cast in the series, but a younger version of himself did appear, an experience Toobin called “surreal.”
“I happened to be on the set the day that most of [actor] Chris Conner‘s scenes with [John] Travolta were shot, and I have a cool photograph of the three of us together. I was hugely relieved they picked a good-looking guy to play me, better looking than I am!” Toobin told Adweek.
“They all did a fantastic job from the scripts to the editing to the acting,” Van Susteren adds. “And where did they get those actors who are dead ringers for the real people? Great casting!”
Van Susteren has a new series of GretaTalk podcasts focused on the OJ Simpson case. In it, she gives the inside story on how the case that made her a household name in cable TV.