Jossip had the rumor, NYT has the confirm: Judith Regan was fired late this afternoon, officially, by publisher HarperCollins, the parent company for her imprint, Regan Books, "effective immediately." The termination was confirmed this evening by HarperCollins president and CEO Jane Friedman in a two-sentence release, according to the Times.
The annoucement comes in the wake of the outcry following Regan's planned publication of the O.J. Simpson 'confession' book, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened," which Regan had also produced as a planned two-hour special to run on Fox during November sweeps. After the public recoiled in distasted and revulsion from the crass, sordid attempt to capitalize on the decade-old tragedy, Rupert Murdoch-owned parent company NewsCorp. pulled the special and recalled the book.
The NYT says it is "unclear whether Ms. Regan has been dismissed only from HarperCollins, or terminated entirely from the News Corporation," but Jossip, which had the unconfirmed rumor of Regan's firing shortly after 7 p.m., reported hearing that Regan had been fired by Murdoch "after an intense back-and-forth following the O.J. Simpson book scandal." Given the above, it seems highly unlikely that Regan would remain at NewsCorp in any capacity after being removed from the head of the company that bears her name. There was speculation about Regan's tenure following the Simpson scandal (not to mention her bizarre justification for it, published in the Murdoch-owned New York Post), but conventional publishing industry wisdom held that she made too much money for NewsCorp. to let go. Rupert Murdoch, however, made a point of putting morality over money when he canceled the O.J. special and book despite taking a hit on NewsCorp's original investment, in a move that may be seen to continue that trend.
Meanwhile, this evening is the NewsCorp holiday party at the Hilton for all NewsCorp properties including HarperCollins, Fox and the New York Post; presumably Ms. Regan will not be joining in the festivies.