I promised "behind the scenes" and here it is: do you wonder why we had a Part 2 (about 5 minutes) of OJ Simpson and why it was so short? Here is the reason - we counted wrong. I take responsibility for about 2 minutes of it -- and the other few minutes may have to be divided among a few.
When we got the interview, there was one restriction: unedited for one hour show. This also meant we would air it in its entirety. That seems pretty simple, doesn't it? (by the way, where did some viewers get the idea we paid for this interview? I received a bunch of emails saying we should not have paid for the interview. I was even "told" in a few emails that we paid $100,000! Where did these emailers get this "information?" Well, we didn't pay for the interview...and we don't pay for interviews.)
An hour show is not really an hour. You have to take into account commercial breaks, introductions into the segments ("reads") and tease outs ("reads") and the good-bye. An hour show is really about 44 minutes. This is basic and that is what we prepared for when we conducted the interview. I knew going into the interview that OJ is a "talker" and that once he gets going, it would not be easy to stop him. I had interviewed him once before - about 7 years ago - and had some feel for the way he will talk during an interview. We did have to stop one point during the interview since the tapes we use are only 30 minutes long.
Towards the end of the interview, my cameraman counted me down to that magic number: 44 minutes. I assumed in advance that we had built in cushion time for the "reads." I don't know if we did. As the cameraman counted me down from 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds and, as, he then gave me "times up" signal, I still had a couple very quick questions and asked them anyway. I figured that I had not gone over the limit too far and could squeeze in the last question. I wanted to know how OJ described his own life and himself.
The producer took the tapes back to NY and I later learned that we had a few minutes extra beyond what would make for an hour show. So, we made "Part 2." Now you know how it happens that you sometimes get a "Part 2."
Incidentally, I very much prefer to do unedited interviews. I think that better reflects what a guest thinks about a given topic. I realize in tv we must edit for time reasons but with editing comes incomplete thoughts, etc.
Tonight we will have former Detective Tom Lange (search) to respond to the Simpson interview. You may recall he was one of the key investigating detectives in the Simpson case 10 years ago.
Do you have something you'd like to say to Greta? Please write to her at email@example.com!
Watch On the Record with Greta Van Susteren weeknights at 10 p.m. ET