2006_11_reganj.jpgHarperCollins president and CEO Jane Friedman fired editor Judith Regan late-yesterday. The dismissal, which was announced while most employees were at the company Christmas party, comes after last month's O.J. Simpson book and Fox TV interview fiasco. Regan was the driving force behind the project, in which Simpson described how he might have hypothetically killed his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. After the project came under intense criticism, Rupert Murdoch, HarperCollins is owned by his News Corporation, was forced to cancel it and apologize. 400,000 books had to be destroyed.

The last straw for Regan may not have been the O.J. book but a forthcoming "biographical novel" about Mickey Mantle which, among much imaginary dialogue made up by author Peter Golenbeck, depicts imaginary scenes of the Yankees' great seducing with Marilyn Monroe, wife of his teammate Joe DiMaggio.

According to the Times it was not clear if Regan was fired from just HarperCollins or from the News Corp. entirely (Jossip is saying it is the latter).

As expected the Daily News is having a field day trashing Murdoch and Regan saying "The usually talkative Regan could not be reached for comment".

Photograph of Judith Regan at speaking during her Sirius satellite show by Richard Drew/AP