Why celebrity trials are big business -- and why the networks are jumping on the stories earlier than ever

By Allison Hope Weiner
Updated January 30, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Michael Jackson
Credit: Michael Jackson: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours before Michael Jackson was to be arraigned on child-molestation charges, ”Access Hollywood” broadcast a scoop: the exact route that Jackson would travel to go to the Santa Maria courtroom proceedings (”past these lush, rolling hills…to the busy 101 North”).

Days before Kobe Bryant’s arraignment on rape charges in a Colorado courtroom, ”Extra” broke the news that he had bought his wife… an eight-carat pink diamond ring.

And months before Scott Peterson’s arrest on charges that he’d murdered his wife and unborn son, MSNBC’s Dan Abrams discussed the effect that Scott Peterson’s affair with Amber Frey would have on the case.