If the goal was to sink ABC's American Idol reboot in the ratings, O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession? didn't come close.
Fox aired the 2-hour special Sunday night opposite the Idol season 16 premiere.
One television critic described the Simpson special as a "stunt" by Fox - previous home of American Idol - to steal viewers and attention away from rival ABC.Ratings numbers released Monday show the stunt didn't get very far off the ground.
Idol premiered with a solid 10.3 million viewers, compared to The Lost Confession?'s 4.4 million viewers.
Even worse for Fox, The Lost Confession? was widely panned on social media, and it got terrible reviews from TV critics.
The special centered around a never-before-seen 2006 interview Simpson did with publisher Judith Regan to publicize his book If I Did It about the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Simpson was acquitted of the killings in 1995, but later found liable in a civil trial and ordered to pay Nicole and Ron's families $33.5 million in damages.
Former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien hosted the Fox special.
O'Brien was joined by former Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden; Rita Smith, former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Nicole Brown Simpson's friend Eve Shakti Chen, FBI profiler Jim Clemente and Regan.
The interview was broken down into a series of clips, with the panelists offering commentary on Simpson's stunning, flippant and at times disturbing comments as he detailed a graphic hypothetical account of how Nicole and Ron may have been killed.
When asked about the infamous photos of a battered Nicole, and if he had beaten his then-wife, Simpson described her as a “confrontational” woman. He alleged she acted inappropriately for her age after they split up and she slept around.
Read more: O.J. Simpson Scores Another Legal Win
Simpson made it clear throughout the interview that he was speaking "hypothetically" about the 1994 murders.
He claimed a friend named "Charlie" went to Nicole’s Brentwood home after she had separated from O.J.
One night, Charlie noticed something wasn't right and alerted O.J.
"I don't know why he had been by Nicole's house, but he told me, 'You wouldn't believe what’s going on over there,'" Simpson said. "And I thought, 'Whatever's going on over there's gotta stop.'"
The pair then hypothetically drove together to Nicole's home, where they parked nearby and were hypothetically confronted by Nicole and her friend.
Simpson said he pulled out a knife [which he apparently kept in his car] and "I believe [Charlie] took it."
"At that time, I think Charlie had followed this guy in, to make sure there was no problem, and he brought in the knife," Simpson said. "I took the knife from Charlie, and to be honest, after that, I don't remember, except I'm standing there and there's all kinds of stuff around. Blood and stuff."
When asked about not remembering what happened, Simpson said he had never blacked out before.
He went on to describe the grisly murder scene as "horrible."
O.J. smirked throughout the interview and said the killings, the ensuing media circus and his murder trial ruined his good-guy image.
In his words, his reputation was "murdered” after the killings.
“Ron and Nicole were physically dead and it was almost like they killed me,” he complained.
The special became a top trending topic on Twitter Sunday night among viewers and television critics.
Entertainment Weekly writer Kristen Baldwin described the special as "finding your meth-addict buddy on the floor of his apartment, face-down in a puddle of his own sick."
The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck said the special "will only make you hate [O.J.] all the more."
While the New York Times described the program as "gripping" yet "gross."
The majority of television viewers were much less complimentary on Twitter, with one person describing the special as "one of the most bizarre and disturbing things I have ever heard."
New York City radio personality Charlamagne Tha God live tweeted as the special aired, writing: "OJ Simpson is a psychopath."
And NFL radio producer Wendy Adams called the interview "unnerving."
You can read more viewer reaction to the program below.
This "hypothetical" description of Nicole Simpson's murder by OJ Simpson is one of the most bizarre and disturbing things I have ever heard #DidOJConfess @soledadobrien ...also OJ is smirking as he talks about her "hypothetical" murder
— Sheba Turk (@ShebaTurk) 12 March 2018
Watching #OJSimpson confess to brutal double murders of his wife #NicoleBrown & her friend #RonGoldman was infuriating. His ‘hypothetical’ description should put to rest any doubt but that the ‘Juice’ slaughtered & butchered mother of his children & Ron in insane jealous rage
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) 12 March 2018
His anger, his laughing... I’m speechless #DidOJConfess
— Terra Jolé (@TerraJole) 12 March 2018
OJ Simpson is a psychopath. If committing the murders doesn't convince you then doing a interview detailing what happened when he committed the murders "hypothetically" will. #DidOjConfess
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) 12 March 2018
OJ giving the most detailed & elaborate hypothetical murder recounting ever #DidOjConfess
— sabreigha (@sabreigha) 12 March 2018
The amount of laughter coming from OJ Simpson during this interview is uncomfortable and unnerving. #DidOJConfess
— Wendy Adams (@wendyradio) 12 March 2018
Anybody watch the 12 yr old OJ Simpson interview last night? I found it at times stunning (He seemed to drift out of character numerous times to put himself directly at the scene) and at times maddening. (What did he "hypothetically" do with the murder weapon???)
— Mark Katches (@markkatches) 12 March 2018
I’m not making any jokes about this OJ special. In case he’s reading this, I don’t want him to hypothetically murder me too #DidOJConfess
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) 12 March 2018
Still, O.J. did have a few supporters.
Ron Goldman had all types of defense wounds on his hands showing he was fighting his attacker. But these photos taken days after the murders showed that OJ didn't have any bruises on him..Not one. Thats because he didn't do it #DidOJConfess pic.twitter.com/UCrKaa5AI1
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) 12 March 2018
How about a pro OJ person on this panel? Seems pretty biased to me. #DidOJConfess
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) 12 March 2018