Names and faces

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

■ O.J. Simp­son was granted pa­role Thurs­day af­ter more than eight years in prison for a 2007 rob­bery in a Las Ve­gas ho­tel room, suc­cess­fully mak­ing his case for free­dom in a na­tion­ally tele­vised hear­ing that re­flected Amer­ica’s en­dur­ing fas­ci­na­tion with the for­mer foot­ball star. Simp­son, 70, could be re­leased as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the min­i­mum of his nineto-33-year armed-rob­bery sen­tence for a bun­gled at­tempt to snatch sports mem­o­ra­bilia and other me­men­tos that he claimed had been stolen from him. All four pa­role com­mis­sion­ers who con­ducted the hear­ing voted for his re­lease af­ter about 30 min­utes of de­lib­er­a­tions. They also cited his com­mu­nity sup­port and his re­lease plans, which in­clude mov­ing to Florida. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Simp­son said qui­etly as he buried his head on his chest with re­lief as he sat in a stark hear­ing room at Ne­vada’s Lovelock Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter. Dur­ing the more-than hour­long hear­ing, Simp­son in­sisted that he was only try­ing to re­cover items that be­longed to him and never meant to hurt any­one dur­ing the holdup of two sports mem­o­ra­bilia deal­ers. Simp­son was widely ex­pected to win pa­role, given sim­i­lar cases and his good be­hav­ior be­hind bars. His de­fend­ers have ar­gued, too, that his sen­tence was out of pro­por­tion to the crime and that he was be­ing pun­ished for the two killings he was ac­quit­ted of in Los An­ge­les in 1995: the 1994 stab­bings of ex-wife Ni­cole Brown Simp­son and her friend Ron­ald Gold­man. In 1997, Simp­son was found li­able in civil court for the two killings and or­dered to pay $33.5 mil­lion to sur­vivors, in­clud­ing his chil­dren and the Gold­man fam­ily.

■ Ryan Seacrest will be back host­ing

Amer­i­can Idol when it re­turns for its first sea­son on ABC. Kelly Ripa made the an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day’s Live with Kelly and Ryan, which she has co-hosted with Seacrest since he joined her in May. “I am happy to con­firm … that Ryan Seacrest is re­turn­ing as the host of

Amer­i­can Idol, said Ripa as the stu­dio au­di­ence whooped. The 42-year-old Seacrest said he was ex­cited to be do­ing it again. “I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a 15-year re­la­tion­ship and then, for a rea­son that you re­ally don’t know, you break up,” he said. “I thought, ‘Gosh, it would be great to get back to­gether at some point.’” Seacrest had a grand his­tory with

Idol dur­ing its smash-hit run on Fox from 2002 through 2016. His po­ten­tial re­turn to Idol had sparked much spec­u­la­tion since ABC an­nounced in May that it would re­vive the tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion. The pro­gram airs from Los An­ge­les and Live airs week­day morn­ings from New York. Seacrest is no stranger to a packed work sched­ule and cross-coun­try flights. “You can have all the tick­ets you want,” he told Ripa, “and you can come back and forth with me any week­end.”



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