Media hype is building around OJ Simpson's parole hearing next week, with ESPN and other networks announcing that they will be carrying live feeds of the event.

ESPN's Jeremy Schaap will anchor a special 90-minute episode of Outside The Lines covering Simpson's parole hearing in Carson City, Nevada live when it starts at 1pm ET on Thursday, July 20, reports the Daily Mail.

Other networks will carry the hearing live as well from a pool video feed, marking the first time since 2013 that the nation has seen Simpson live.

At the hearing, the 70-year-old - who is currently eight years into a nine-to-33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping, among other charges - will be told if he can leave his Nevada prison, possibly as soon as October.

Advertisement

Simpson is dreading the hearing, and worried that the media circus will taint the ruling of the board, a prison pal has told Page Six.

At Simpson's last parole hearing, in 2013, pre-hype and press were not permitted, Page Six claimed.

But this time there will be live broadcasts and a same-day ruling.

"The Juice is sweating it over the parole hearing," said Jeffrey Felix, Simpson's former prison guard and self-styled "BFF," who wrote the book Guarding The Juice.

"He's been told there will be media tents outside, pool reporters in his room and the Carson City hearing room, and cameras sending a live feed to the media outside.

"He is asking why they are fostering a circus-like environment for his hearing."

If granted parole, Simpson would be released back into the community on October 1.

"OJ thinks he deserves his parole - he's been clean for nine years, hasn't had any write-ups, took all the programs and classes they told him to take," Felix continued.

"But he thinks all this media hype is going to screw with the parole board and put pressure on them to keep him locked up.

"The media still portrays him in a negative light because he was acquitted of the murders [of his wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994]."

Brooke Keast, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Corrections, said: "We must make the hearing public. The only way we could safely do this is to have it streamed live.

"We have two media sources in the room handling a pool shoot that day. Our local affiliate of ABC and our local reporter from AP."

However, the Board of Parole website notes that "approximately 30 distinct organisations" have applied to attend the hearing, if not the courtroom itself.

Keast said all parole hearings are public, but Simpson's high profile meant that too many people would want to attend.

She added: "we need to live stream it so the public can see it and we can keep our prison safe and secure."

She also denied that the 2013 hearing was closed to press. "Media wasn't interested in 2013," she said. "Nobody contacted us."

When asked about whether the same-day verdict was unusual, the Board of Parole referred to a written statement on its website.

It said: "The Board occasionally conducts hearings with a majority of the members of the Board. When a majority is present, and the decision is unanimous, the result is provided to the inmate at the time of the hearing.

"Because of the media interest in this case and to facilitate returning to business as usual, the Board opted to conduct this hearing with a majority of the members.

"When hearings are conducted by panels of less than a majority of the Board, the results of the hearing generally take approximately three weeks to reach the inmate."

It added that despite claims by Page Six, this was not "unusual" and had last happened in June of this year.

"The Board opted to conduct this hearing with a majority panel because of the intense media interest," it said. "Over 800 release and violation hearings are held each month and the media interest in this one case is a disruption to our operation.

"A decision is being made at the time of the hearing so the Board's operation can return to normal as soon as possible after the hearing."

It also said there was no chance that the media would affect the judgement of the board, saying they would abide by their "oath to faithfully execute their duties".

Simpson requires a unanimous vote of four parole officers to be granted parole.

Otherwise, three more officers will be called in to vote.

The board anticipates a maximum of a 30-minute deliberation period before it returns a vote.

The former sports star and actor was convicted in 2008 of taking sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel-casino at gunpoint in 2007.

Prosecutors said his order that people stay in the room amounted to kidnapping.

He was sentenced to 33 years, with possibility of parole after around nine years, in Lovelock Correctional Center.

In 2013, a parole board granted him parole on the robbery charges, but he continued to be held on other charges.

It has previously been reported that Simpson's advanced age and good behaviour in prison have increased his chance of parole.

The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners has been contacted for comment.