And now the latest would-be blockbuster from the people who brought you the O.J. Simpson Trial...
A Los Angeles judge ruled Friday that television networks would be able to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of Phil Spector's upcoming murder trial, despite misgivings that it might devolve into another "Trial of the Century."
Although he was wary of the media circus surrounding the O.J. Simpson case, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler decided to grant the access because he believed the public deserved to see the legal system at work and to disprove the notion that celebrities get special treatment.
"Public scrutiny is a good thing," Fidler said, adding that it was time for him and his fellow judges to get over there "fear of cameras in the courtroom" and the fallout from the O.J. spectacle.
"We have to get by that case," Fidler continued. "There's going to come a time that it will be commonplace to televise trials. If it had not been for Simpson's, we'd be there now."
Fidler's ruling was a victory for the news outlets that petitioned to cover every detail of the trial, in which the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame impresario is accused of shooting to death B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
While prosecutors were in favor, Fidler's decision was a blow to Spector's legal team, who had sought to keep the cameras out of the proceedings, claiming witnesses might behave differently knowing they're on TV, say things they might not normally say during testimony and even play to the cameras.
"Public trials don't mandate TV [cameras] in the courtroom," Spector's attorney, Roger Rosen, said at the hearing, which was not attended by Spector. "Really, it's about the networks making money."
But Fidler rejected that argument, saying he'd "pull the plug" immediately if he thought things were getting out of hand.
"If I don't like how it's handled...they're gone," the judge said, referring to the cameras.
When asked by another defense attorney, Bradley Brunon, whether witnesses will have their privacy protected, Fidler said bluntly, "You won't see a bag over anyone's head."
Cameras will not be allowed to show the faces of jurors, however.
Fidler also said that he doesn't expect the same kind of attention as Simpson jurist Lance Ito endured, spawning the "Dancing Itos" on The Tonight Show.
"I'm not too concerned we're going to be seeing the Flying Fidlers," the judge noted. "It's not that kind of a case."
Spector has pleaded innocent to the murder rap and remains free on $1 million bail. The music producer, famed for his collaborations with the Ronettes, Righteous Brothers and Beatles, previously stated that Clarkson, star of Roger Corman's Barbarian Queen and Amazon Women on the Moon "kissed the gun" and shot herself.
Jury selection in the long-anticipated criminal trial kicks off Mar. 19.