ESPN3 to Cover ‘Bladerunner’ Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial 24/7 (Exclusive)

Attorney Robert Shapiro will walk viewers through the Trial of the (New) Century

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

Disgraced Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius will face a judge and jury — and millions of viewers — when his murder trial begins in South Africa on Monday.

For American audiences, one option to devour the “Bladerunner” soap opera 24/7 will be ESPN3.

The special 24/7-coverage channel will run for a minimum of three weeks, offering collaboration with radio, television and print journalists in South Africa who are familiar with both Pistorius’ career and now his case.

ESPN3 will also have panel discussions and interviews with high profile lawyers, forensic specialists and psychologists.

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The network will be live from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, each day. It will repeat content from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time daily to fill out the 24/7 schedule. ESPN3’s rights are non-exclusive, but at the time of this writing, the rights have not been picked up by anyone else.

“There is a huge amount of interest in the Oscar Pistorius trial, both in the sports world and in the news around the globe, and we saw an opportunity to deliver live coverage on ESPN3 in the US,” Jason Bernstein, ESPN’s senior director of Programming and Acquisitions told TheWrap. “The network is accessible on multiple platforms, allowing for viewers to tune in wherever they are to stay on top of the latest news development.”

ESPN3 is accessible online, on smartphones and tablets, and streamed on televisions through supported devices. The channel is available in more than 85 million households nationwide.

ESPN’s sister network ABC will have Correspondent Hamish MacDonald on-site in South Africa.

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Pistorius’ trial has enough similarities to O.J. Simpson’s to safely be considered eerie: A beloved and accomplished athlete, popular enough to have crossed-over from the sports world to popular culture, allegedly murders his significant other to the shock of the public and ire of the media — who suddenly feel misled for all of the squeaky-clean positive career coverage.

For Simpson’s “Trial of the Century,” ESPN was on the story — and the scene — everyday. This time around, they’re taking it further.

Another similarity between the two is Robert Shapiro. Shapiro is best-known for being part of the Simpson defense team in ’95, which infamously scored an acquittal despite strong DNA evidence supporting the prosecution’s case. This time around, Shapiro will be providing exclusive content to ESPN3.

For the Pistorius trial, there are 107 witnesses listed, ranging from family members, ex-girlfriends, neighbors, police, forensic psychologist and experts, weather forecaster, friends, paramedics, a ballistics expert, and more.

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In the early morning of Feb. 14, 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, while was she in the bathroom at his home. He was formally charged with murder the following day. Pistorius claimed that in a state of disorientation, he believed his girlfriend to be an intruder.
The now-defendant rose to international fame as the first double-amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics, when in 2012 Pistorius competed in the men’s 400 metres and 4 Ö 400 metres relay races.


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