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Arts and Entertainment

O.J. Simpson's Parole Hearing Will Air Live On ESPN

O. J. Simpson watching a Thanksgiving Day football game with a group of Operation Desert Shield servicemen in 1990. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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On Thursday, former football and trial-of-the-century star O.J. Simpson will appear before the Nevada Board of Parole, and the hearing will broadcast live on ESPN.

Simpson, who was famously acquitted in the 1995 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, has been serving a nine-to-33 year sentence in Nevada prison since 2008. He was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery, among other charges, after a botched 2007 sports memorabilia heist at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Thursday's hearing will be the first time that Simpson, who has served nine years of his sentence, could be eligible for release. He would need to make parole on at least seven of the original 12 counts of his sentence in order to be eligible for an October 1, 2017 release.

Four members of Nevada's parole board will consider O.J.'s case on Thursday from their offices in Carson City, Nevada. The former NFL Hall of Famer will participate via video conference from the Lovelock Correctional Center, where he is incarcerated. The parole board's deliberations will not be public, but a decision is expected on the day of the hearing.

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ESPN will air the entire hearing live as part of an expanded, 90-minute episode of Outside the Lines, according to Deadline Hollywood.

More than 240 media credentials have been issued for the hearing, and a dozen satellite trucks are expected in both Lovelock and Carson City, according to USA Today. The parole board reports that approximately 30 distinct organizations will be attending at each location, most with multiple personnel in attendance.

“The media interest in this one case is a disruption to our operation,’’ the parole board said in a statement.

“All of this is taking place during the absolute slowest week on the sports calendar and as a TV producer when you see something like this, like the parole hearing for Simpson pop up in the third week of July, you are thanking your lucky stars that you actually have something of real news value to talk about and produce,” Outside the Lines coordinating producer David Sarosi told Sports Illustrated. “But even if it was January 20, we would still be doing this, I assure you.”

“Considering the success of the film there is no doubt there is still a public interest and fascination with all things O.J. Simpson,” Sarosi said, referencing ESPN's wildly successful, Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made In America.

To paraphrase William Faulkner, the '90s are never dead, they're not even past. The ESPN coverage will begin live at 10 a.m. PST on Thursday.

Related: You Can Now Watch The Entirety Of 'O.J.: Made In America' On Hulu

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