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Canceling O.J. Simpson's If I Did It book and TV special may have cost News Corp. and its subsidiaries $10 million, but they did manage to recoup $1 million of that in a kill fee when ABC and Barbara Walters ultimately passed on hosting the televised portion of the circus. Apparently, Walters was courted because — chuckle — "an interviewer of her stature would give the project an aura of legitimacy." Sorry, but even Edward R. Murrow wouldn't have enough stature for that assignment. Walters and friends waffled on the choice too long, which is why they had to fork over the kill fee; Walters irritated News Corp. even more by later dissing the Simpson deal on the The View, as if she never would have considered such a thing. Her aura of legitimacy remains thankfully intact.

UPDATE: Bad Newsweek and their "online exclusive"! The Observer had a more detailed version of this story's meat last week, but it went up right before the holiday, so not a soul in American saw it, engaged as we were with other kinds of meat.

If They Did It [Observer]
Kill Fee [Newsweek via Eat the Press]
[Photo: Getty]